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Page last updated at 07:31 GMT, Friday, 15 October 2010 08:31 UK

Taliban contact 'not at the stage of negotiation'

There are signs that the US and Nato are softening their stance on peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Nato's Senior Civilian Representative Mark Sedwill told the programme that "channels of communication" had been open for some time, but were not yet at the stage of negotiation, or even "talks about talks".

He argued that a political solution would "bring forward the day" that Nato troops were no longer fighting on the front line, but that the Taliban would only respond if there was "significant risk" to their safety.

And with a "formidable" Afghan army being trained, the Taliban would be wrong to imagine that they can "just wait and the country will drop into their hands" when Nato forces leave.

"They're in for an unpleasant surprise if they think that's what they can do," he said.

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