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March 13, 2018

KABUL (Reuters) – The United States is picking up signs of interest from Taliban elements in exploring the possibility of talks to end the more than 16-year-old war, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday, at the start of an unannounced visit to Afghanistan.

“There is interest that we’ve picked up from the Talibanside,” Mattis told reporters shortly before landing in Kabul, saying the signs date back several months.

“We’ve had some groups of Taliban – small groups – who have either started to come over or expressed an interest in talking.”

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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