U.S. moves to revive stalled Afghan peace talks: officials

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks at the inauguration ceremony of the Afghan National Agriculture Science and Technology University accompanied by Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, in Kandahar province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. A total 4.5 million U.S. dollars has been spent by the government of India in building the university. (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)By Missy Ryan, Phil Stewart and Warren Strobel KABUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration is taking steps it hopes could lead to a resumption of peace talks to end the Afghan conflict, including reviving a proposed swap of Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay in return for a U.S. prisoner of war. According to Western officials familiar with the matter, President Barack Obama’s senior aides in late December resolved to renew attempts to arrange the prisoner exchange with the goal of jump-starting negotiations stalled since last June. The hope is that the exchange could open the door to more substantive peace talks on Afghanistan’s future. Reuters has learned that, to further the initiative, U.S. officials also have held meetings with the government of Qatar, which has played a mediating role during several years of on-and-off peace efforts, officials said.

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