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Taliban official says group spoke with US official

This April 6, 2016, file photo shows Alice Wells, the U.S.'s top diplomat for South Asia, during her meeting with Syrian refugees at the International Airport of Amman, Jordan. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- A senior Taliban official says the insurgent group has held the first direct talks with a U.S. official in a preliminary discussion about future plans for a negotiated peace in Afghanistan.

This week's meeting with Alice Wells, the U.S.'s top diplomat for South Asia, was an attempt to jump-start talks on ending Washington's longest military engagement, a senior Taliban official told The Associated Press early Saturday.

U.S. officials neither confirmed nor denied a meeting took place.

The Taliban have long demanded direct talks with Washington.

"The discussion was preliminary, initial and both discussed a future meeting and contacts," said the official on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

It wasn't clear when the next meeting would be held or with whom, but he was certain one would be held.

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