POLITICS

Taliban, Afghan gov't attend secretive meeting in France to plot Afghanistan's distant future

12/20/2012 01:38 EST | Updated 02/18/2013 05:12 EST
PARIS - Afghan officials are meeting with Taliban rebels and envoys from another Islamist militant group near Paris, looking beyond Afghanistan's ongoing insurgency to a future long after international forces have returned home.

French hosts say the secretive, rare meeting among rival Afghans in Chantilly — known partly for its equine training grounds — Thursday and Friday isn't expected to involve any horse-trading toward a possible peace and reconciliation deal.

About 20 Afghans from President Hamid Karzai's government, the Taliban, as well as the political opposition and the Islamist Hezb-e-Islami militant group will just try to foster a conversation after 11 years of war.

The meeting comes as France is pulling its last combat troops from Afghanistan — well ahead of NATO's withdrawal timetable..