Afghan President Hamid Karzai
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday called for an accelerated and full transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces following the release of photos of U.S. soldiers posing with the corpses of Afghan insurgents. REUTERS

The United States and Afghanistan have begun laying the groundwork for peace talks with the Taliban, multiple outlets have reported.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in June that reconciliation talks with the Taliban would be essential to forging lasting stability in Afghanistan, and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai told The Wall Street Journal that all three parties have begun making the contacts essential to advance talks. That reflects in part a new willingness on the part of the Taliban to enter into talks.

There is willingness among the Taliban, they spoke with their leadership and got them to agree to talks in Qatar with the Afghan government, Haji Musa Hotak, a member of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, told The New York Times. He added that the Taliban had not yet committed to anything or established a timeline.

The Afghan ambassador to Pakistan underscored that potential negotations are in the preliminary stage.

I must emphasize that word 'exploratory'. They are not talks, Ambassador Umar Daudzai told Reuters. He added that the ultimate goal was direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, something that has not yet happened.