Washington: The United States has strongly supported a reconciliation process, led by the Afghanistan government, with the Taliban.
   
"We have talked for some time about the need to both fight and talk... the US Government's commitment to support Afghan-led reconciliation provided that those we are endeavouring to reconcile with renounce violence, break ties with al-Qaeda, and support the constitution of Afghanistan in all of its aspects, but particularly with regard to human rights and the rights of minorities," Victoria Nuland, State Department spokesperson said.
   
She said that the US role in supporting the Afghans continued. Stressing that the process has to be Afghan-led, Nuland said that "it will only work if we are truly talking to people who are prepared to join a political process, put down their arms, and be part of a positive future for Afghanistan."
   
When asked about progress in talks with the Taliban, the US official said there has been numerous efforts by numerous folk on the Afghan side, on the American side in support of
the Afghans.
   
"But only time is going to tell if these interlocutors are serious about coming off the battlefield and joining the political process," she said.
   
"We have seen ups and we have seen significant downs in the Afghans' efforts to create a reconciliation process. I mean, the Rabbani assassination was, obviously, a very serious step backwards. With regard to whether we are going to have a serious step forward, I think only time will tell," Nuland said.
   
At the same time, she did not comment on news reports that the US was planning to release a number of Taliban prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention centre.

(Agencies)