Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai 'reaffirm' Afghan-led peace process with Taliban: White House

US President Barack ObamaA White House statement said Obama and Karzai talked about U.S. and Afghan plans for the handover of security to Afghan forces as U.S. troops seek to exit by the end of 2014. (AP PHOTOS)

U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday discussed stalled peace talks with the Taliban as U.S. officials struggled to get the discussions on track.

A White House statement said Obama and Karzai held a video conference call in which they also talked about U.S. and Afghan plans for the handover of security to Afghan forces as U.S. troops seek to exit by the end of 2014.

A brazen assault by Taliban militants on Tuesday cast doubt on attempts at peace talks. They attacked key buildings near Afghanistan's presidential palace in Kabul as well as the U.S. CIA headquarters.

The attack came a week after U.S. and Taliban representatives had attempted to meet in the Qatari capital of Doha, a session that was canceled amid objections from the Afghan government.

Obama and Karzai "reaffirmed that an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process is the surest way to end violence and ensure lasting stability in Afghanistan and the region," the White House said.

"And they reiterated their support for an office in Doha for the purpose of negotiations between the High Peace Council and authorized representatives of the Taliban," it said.

The two leaders discussed the transition of operational leadership from NATO to Afghan security forces earlier this month, the importance of Afghan-led reconciliation efforts, preparations for Afghanistan's 2014 elections, and the negotiation of a bilateral security agreement., the statement said.

Karzai updated Obama on plans for Afghanistan's 2014 elections. "The two presidents reaffirmed that free, fair, and credible elections would be critical to Afghanistan's future," the White House statement said.

Karzai has been president since shortly after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban government.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.