The U.S. special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan has played down reports of reconciliation talks with the Taliban, saying that while more cadres were coming forward, their leaders were not.
Richard Holbrooke told reporters after a trip to Kabul that -- despite the added pressure of an intensified NATO-led offensive -- there was "no indication at this point that the Taliban leadership wishes to change its course."
He said he met in Afghanistan with senior Peace Council member Mahsoom Stanikzai, who told him that more Taliban fighters "were now in contact because they were feeling the pressure."
But Holbrooke said that the Taliban members who were reaching out were primarily local forces and did not share the ideology of the movement's elusive leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar.
compiled from agency reports