Afghan peace council first meeting
President Hamid Karzai is hosting the inaugural session of a new Afghan peace council set up to guide efforts to reconcile with the Taliban and other insurgent groups.
Speaking on the ninth anniversary of the start of the war, Karzai said the Afghan people have high hopes that the council will find a path toward peace and stability.
Contacts between the Afghan government and insurgents are increasing, but no formal negotiations are under way.
The Taliban have repeatedly denied any such contacts, saying they will not talk peace so long as US and NATO troops remain in the country.
Karzai called on insurgents to view the formation of the 70-member council as an opportunity to lay down their arms and join the government.