The Afghan Taliban rejected on Thursday claims by President Hamid Karzai that the U.S. and Afghan governments had begun exploratory three-way talks with the Islamist group aimed at reaching a peace deal to end the 10-year Afghan war.

Karzai told The Wall Street Journal newspaper in an interview that the Taliban were definitively interested in a peace settlement to end the war and that all three sides were now involved in discussions.

The Islamic Emirate strongly rejects his words that we have talked with his careless administration and we do not have a plan to talk with President Karzai's administration, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement, using the name by which the Taliban often calls itself.

(Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by Nick Macfie)