(WASHINGTON) -- Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, just back from Afghanistan, told reporters Friday at the State Department much is being made of so-called "high level" peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban leaders...but he says the talks are not really substantive. Holbrooke said "There is less here than meets the eye."
The ambassador did say there has been an increase, in low level fighters and commanders saying they want to talk
“Most of this is at the local level, individual provincial leaders, individual commanders with their units, a lot of these groups, if you know the history of Afghanistan, you will know were not hard-core ideological Taliban. They're independent groups who defend their local valley and move back and forth. And they're feeling the pressure.”
Holbrooke said the Afghan government will put forth its new rules on security contractors November 15th. Its been a controversial matter and Holbrooke said that was largely because the international community did not take Afghan President Hamid Karzai seriously when he raised the issue in the past. There were concerns a change in the rules would put citizens working under private contracts as security providers at risk without military protection.
Holbrooke said the issue of Iran funneling money to the Afghan government did not come up in his talks there.
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