NATO backs Afghan leader's offer of talks with the Taliban

NATO backs Afghan leader's offer of talks with the Taliban
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, front center, speaks with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, front right, prior to a group photo of NATO foreign ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Friday, April 27, 2018. NATO is set on Friday to hold its last major meeting in its old headquarters, with talks focused on strained ties with Russia, a fresh peace effort in Afghanistan and a new training mission for Iraq. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO is backing Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer of peace talks to the Taliban, embracing what top officials say is an “unprecedented” opportunity to end the fighting in the insurgency-wracked country.

In a statement Friday, NATO foreign ministers said the 29 allies “are united in their support for this proposal,” and that they would respect a political settlement that ends violence.

Ghani has offered the Taliban unconditional peace talks accompanied by a cease-fire, recognition of them as a political party and the release of some prisoners, among other incentives.

NATO is also open to talks between Kabul and the Taliban on the future role of the international community in the country. The Taliban have insisted that international troops must leave.