Afghan chief executive backs Taliban peace effort 'in coming days'

KABUL - The head of Afghanistan's power-sharing government lent his support on Monday to a tentative push to begin peace talks with Taliban insurgents, an effort he said "will begin in coming days."
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah's backing of the nascent process to negotiate an end to the 13-year-old insurgency is crucial because many of his supporters represent the vehement anti-Taliban wing that fought against the hardline Islamists when they held power until 2001.
Last week, a Pakistani army delegation brought word to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that Taliban leaders had signaled they are willing to open talks, according to senior Pakistani and Afghan officials. The demands of the insurgents are not yet clear.
Previous attempts to open talks have been fruitless, and no date or firm plan for talks has been set in the most recent effort. Ghani himself has made only oblique references in public statements to the process.
However, Abdullah's office late on Monday confirmed the effort, though it gave no details.
"The process on peace negotiation will begin in coming days. I hope we achieve lasting peace which is our nation's desire," the statement quoted Abdullah as saying.
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