US and Taliban meeting soon to begin complex talks to end war, officials say
The officials told NBC News that the meeting will take place in the next several days in the Qatari capital of Doha. The Taliban will open an office there for the purpose of negotiating directly with the Afghan government, the officials said.
The negotiating conditions require the Taliban to break their ties with al Qaeda, end the violence and accept the Afghan constitution, especially the protections for women and minorities, the officials said.
But because of deep distrust between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the process will be “complex, long and messy,” one official said. The United States "will have a role in direct talks, but this is a negotiation that will have to be led by Afghans," a senior administration official said.
The disclosure came on the same day that international forces, led by the United States, handed control of Afghan national security to local forces — a milestone after almost 12 years of war. Most foreign combat troops will leave the country by the end of 2014.
Obama administration officials also told NBC News that the U.S. is pursuing a prisoner exchange with the Taliban to secure the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held for several years by the Haqqani network, considered a dangerous element of the Taliban.