British spies organized secret meetings with senior Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan over the summer, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
Officers from Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6, have engaged in peace talks with up to a dozen Taliban officials, according to The Daily Telegraph, which cited an unidentified intelligence source.
"The SIS officers were understood to have sought peace directly with the Taliban, with some of them coming across as some sort of armed militia," The Telegraph quoted the source as saying. "The British would provide mentoring for the Taliban."
Although Britain and its NATO allies are currently engaged in a fierce campaign to root out resurgent Taliban militants from Afghanistan's south, both British and Afghan officials have voiced increasing interest in trying to talk the Taliban into laying down their arms and persuading them to join the government.