Gates says Taliban contact ‘very preliminary’

The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, has confirmed that America is in direct talks with the Taliban, but said it could be months before efforts to broker a peace deal in the country bear fruit, ‘The Guardian’ reported. Gates, who steps down at the end of the month, said there had been contacts between United States and the Taliban in recent weeks, headed by the State Department. “There’s been outreach on the part of a number of countries, including the United States. I would say that these contacts are very preliminary at this point,” he told the CNN program “State of the Union”.

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