The confusion surrounding recent reports of peace talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and “top Taliban officials” continues to grow tonight, with Taliban officials reiterating their long-standing denial that any talks are even taking place.
The Taliban statement says they “refute these futile claims and baseless propaganda and believes that it is a part and parcel of a regular psychological warfare of the enemy.” President Karzai had confirmed the talks just two days ago.
Karzai’s claims had been quickly repudiated by US envoy Richard Holbrooke, who insisted the media had made up reports of the peace talks entirely. Which adds another layer of confusion, as NATO officials claimed today that they were “aiding” the talks.
Such has been par for the course with such reports of reconciliation, as President Karzai has often made much of talks that didn’t turn out to involve anybody but his own government and a couple of Taliban cast offs with no contacts to the actual insurgency. The US denial and the NATO confirmation add something of a twist in this case, but in the end they give the impression that even those ostensibly involved with the talks aren’t quite sure if they’re really happening or not.