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U.S. Expecting More Attacks By Taliban In Afghanistan

U.S. special representative for Afghanistan James Dobbins (file photo)
The U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan is warning that despite the prospect of peace talks with the Taliban, the United States expects violence in Afghanistan to continue.

During a visit to India on June 27, James Dobbins told journalists that his government does not have "naive or excessive expectations."

"Nobody knows how this is going to progress and it's certainly not a sure thing that it will result in a diminishing of violence and in a successful evolution toward peace," Dobbins said.

Dobbins said he anticipated the Taliban will continue attacks to strengthen the group's bargaining position.

Taliban militants launched an attack on June 25 on the presidential palace in Kabul and a nearby building known to house the CIA office in the Afghan capital.

Three security guards and at least four gunmen were killed in the attack. It was the latest in a series of high-profile attacks in Kabul in recent weeks.

Conditions For Agreement

Dobbins repeated U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's condition for any agreement.

"We have made clear, Secretary Kerry made clear, when he was here, that any agreement would need to include a cessation of hostilities, a respect for the Afghan Constitution, and severing of all ties with Al-Qaeda and some more terrorist organizations," Dobbins said.

"I would stress that the negotiations toward this objective will principally be negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, not between the United States and the Taliban."

Dobbins briefed Indian officials about the situation in Afghanistan. The envoy has been touring the region this week and was already in Pakistan and Afghanistan meeting with officials. India is the last stop on his trip.

Earlier this week, the White House said both U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai support conducting talks with Taliban representatives at their newly opened office in Qatar.

Foreign combat troops are due to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Last week, NATO formally transferred the leadership of security operations across the country to Afghan forces.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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