WASHINGTON: US officials recently held secret talks with the Haqqani network and this meeting had been set up by Pakistan`s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the US media reported on Wednesday.
A key leader of this faction, Sirajuddin Haqqani, had earlier told the BBC that the US had approached him about joining the Afghan government.
The US State Department, when asked to comment on the reports, said any group which wanted to engage with the US in Afghanistan must give up violence and should be willing to work with the Afghan government.
“We insist, as do the Afghans, that anybody who is reconciled or who is pursuing reconciliation has to renounce violence,” said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland when asked to comment on the reported contact with the Haqqani group.
“They have to abandon their ties, cut their ties with Al Qaeda, they have to abide by the laws and the constitution of Afghanistan, including respecting the rights of women and ethnic minorities,” she added.
“Now, I`m not going to talk about any specifics and meetings and this and that. Within that umbrella this is an Afghan-led process,” said the US official when a journalist asked her to confirm or deny if Washington had held talks with the Haqqanis.