The Washington Post, citing Afghan and Arab sources, is reporting that representatives of the Taliban and the Afghan government are in "secret, high-level talks over a negotiated end to the war."
Talks last year in Saudi Arabia were unfruitful, but the sources told the Post that representatives now are fully authorized to negotiate on behalf of the Taliban faction led by the notorious Mullah Mohammed Omar.
The Taliban "are very, very serious about finding a way out," one source close to the talks told the Post.
Meanwhile, an airstrike in northwestern Afghanistan killed a Taliban leader, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said on Wednesday.
Qari Ziauddin, the Taliban's shadow governor in Faryab province, died Tuesday. He was "directly associated with and took direct operational orders from a Pakistan-based leader of the northern front," according to ISAF.