Afghan President Hamid Karzai confirmed his government has been in informal talks with the Taliban on securing peace in war-weary Afghanistan "for quite some time" — the latest in a series of high-level acknowledgments of contacts with the insurgent group.
The comments came as Taliban fighters ambushed a military supply convoy in the east Monday and fought with Afghan forces in the south.
Unofficial discussions have been held with Taliban representatives over an extended period, Karzai told CNN's Larry King Live in an interview to be broadcast Monday.
"We have been talking to the Taliban as countryman to countryman," Karzai said. "Not as a regular official contact with the Taliban with a fixed address, but rather unofficial personal contacts have been going on for quite some time."
NATO's top commander in Afghanistan — Gen. David Petraeus — has also said the military coalition was aware of overtures made by Taliban insurgents at the highest levels to the Afghan government.
The drumbeat about talks comes as support for a drawn-out military push in Afghanistan is waning in the United States and with other NATO allies as the war enters its 10th year.
In the east on Monday, Taliban fighters ambushed a supply convoy guarded by Afghan military contractors as it travelled through Ghazni province on its way to Kandahar in the south, said provincial chief of police Zarawar Zahid. An hourlong gunbattle killed eight insurgents and wounded two Afghan security contractors in Qarabagh district.