Shhh: Former Taliban officials say Taliban has started talking to U.S.

The former officials said that four to eight Taliban representatives had traveled to Qatar from Pakistan to set up a political office for the exiled Afghan insurgent group.

The comments suggested that the Taliban, who have not publicly said they would engage in peace talks to end the war in Afghanistan, were gearing up for preliminary discussions.

American officials would not deny that meetings had taken place, and the discussions seemed to have at least the tacit approval of Pakistan, which has thwarted previous efforts by the Taliban to engage in talks.

The Afghan government, which was initially angry that it had been left out, has accepted the talks in principle but is not directly involved, a potential snag in what could be a historic development.