NATO’s Afghanistan mission has denied reports that its commander has said, America is ready to join direct talks with the Taliban. US General John Nicholson spoke with Afghan officials in Kandahar, where he reportedly said the US was ready to talk to the Taliban a shift from the long-held position of Kabul needing to lead any peace process. In a statement, Nicholson said, his comments had been mischaracterised and that he was merely reaffirming remarks by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who recently, said the US is prepared to support, facilitate and participate in eventual peace talks. He said, US is not a substitute for the Afghan people or the Afghan government.
NATO’s Resolute Support mission spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Martin O’Donnell added that the US is exploring all avenues to advance a peace process. Taliban has long maintained it wants to talk only with the US, while Washington has insisted the Afghan government be involved.