'US asks Pakistan to mediate with Taliban'

As the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates, increasing numbers of reports say that Washington has urged Islamabad to mediate in direct talks with the Taliban.

According to the reports, the US has asked Pakistan to pave the way for bringing Taliban elders to the table for one-on-one talks.

In her recent visit to Pakistan the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, met top political and military leadership of the country and 'talks with the Taliban' was on the top of her agenda, a senior Pakistani official, who requested that his name be withheld, told Press TV's Nasir Kazmi in Islamabad on Friday.

The move comes days after Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave a gloomy assessment of the security situation in Afghanistan, describing it as "serious and deteriorating".

For the same purpose, US officials are also in contact with certain pro-Taliban religio-politcal leaders including Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F (JUI-F) chief Moulana Fazullar Rehman and Sami-ul-Haq , as well as various tribal leaders based in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, according to a former Pakistani lawmaker, Washington is ready to spend large amounts of money to start talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Javed Ibrahim Paracha, a former member of Pakistan's National Assembly said earlier in November that top US diplomats contacted him in 2005 and offered him a huge sum of money to broker the talks.

"US officials had offered me 500,000 dollars for mediating at that meeting. I refused the offer and asked the US officials to first gain permission from the government and corps commanders," The Daily Times quoted Paracha, as saying.

At the same time, the UK has demanded that the international community -- the United States, in particular -- hold reconciliation talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan to establish peace in the country.

The US invaded Afghanistan more than eight years ago after 9/11 to allegedly arrest militant leaders and eradicate militancy form the country.

This has been the deadliest year for foreign troops in Afghanistan since the beginning of the war in 2001. At least 460 international soldiers have been killed there so far this year.

'US asks Pakistan to mediate with Taliban'