Petraeus: NATO has facilitated Taliban movement

Then Gen. David Petraeus testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 29, 2010, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to be confirmed as President Obama's choice to take control of forces in Afghanistan. Petraeus became CIA director in June 2011. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

October 15, 2010 6:57:56 AM PDT
U.S. Gen. David Petraeus has confirmed that NATO has provided safe passage for top Taliban leaders to travel to Kabul for face-to-face negotiations with the American-backed Afghan government.

Petraeus declined to provide details of the alliance's role in the clandestine talks -- discussions that he described as "preliminary." The Afghan government has previously acknowledged that it has been involved in reconciliation talks with the Taliban with some NATO help.

Petraeus told reporters at the United Services Institute on Friday that it would "not be the easiest of tasks" for a senior Taliban leader to make his way to the capital, Kabul -- unless NATO forces permitted it.

He says NATO is "aware of it and allows it to take place."