Hamid Karzai's spokesman has confirmed that the Afghan president has engaged in secret contacts with Taliban representatives about a possible peace accord.
Spokesman Aimal Faizi told "The New York Times"
that the clandestine contacts, which reportedly began in October on the Taliban's initiative, were continuing.
The report said the contacts have occurred without the involvement of American or other Western officials.
The contacts have taken place as Karzai has pursued policies that have antagonized his backers in Washington.
These have included Karzai's refusal to sign a so-called bilateral security accord with the United States.
Washington has warned it could pull all its troops out of Afghanistan unless the pact is signed soon.
President Barack Obama was expected to meet with his senior defense officials on February 4 to discuss the future of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.