U.S. Hopes to Continue Talks with Taliban in 2012

U.S. and Afghan officials say the Obama administration hopes to restore momentum this spring to U.S. talks with the Taliban insurgency that had reached a critical point before falling apart this month.

The officials told The Associated Press that talks and two key trust-building initiatives with the Taliban are on hold because of objections from Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Those measures were a Taliban headquarters office and the release from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of approximately five Afghan prisoners considered affiliated with the Taliban.

A U.S. official says one goal of renewed talks would be to identify cease-fire zones that could be used as a stepping-stone toward a full peace agreement. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are sensitive.