Turkey Reaches Out to Taliban Militants, Hoping for Peace Talks

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is backing a peace talk proposal.

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The Turkish Foreign Ministry said it was willing to consider offering the Taliban office space in the country if it facilitates peace talks, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he backed the proposal. The Turks have struggled mightily in the past few years to position themselves as a mediator between the West and the Muslim world on issues including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iranian nuclear standoff, and the war in Afghanistan. Those efforts by the sole Muslim-majority nation in NATO have not always been warmly received in Washington and so far U.S. officials have been quiet on the Turkish offer. Turkey has a small contingent of soldiers serving in Afghanistan, though their role is tightly circumscribed to avoid combat missions. They are due to begin withdrawing in July. l