UN envoy: Goal now must be Afghan-Taliban peace negotiations

The U.N. envoy for Afghanistan says all peace efforts including a new initiative by Germany and Qatar for talks among Afghans must be directed at starting formal negotiations between the government and the Taliban.

Tadamichi Yamamoto told the Security Council on Wednesday he's encouraged by increasing support for a political settlement and called on countries "with direct contacts and with influence over the Taliban to intensify their efforts toward this goal."

Germany's deputy U.N. ambassador Jurgen Schulz said there is "great support" from the Afghan government, key political actors and civil society for an "Intra-Afghan Dialogue Conference."

But he said there are still "obstacles," stressing the need for a united international community to send the Taliban a clear message "that it is time to talk about a common future."