The claim adds to a series of mixed messages that are complicating the Taliban's efforts to become an accepted, legitimate political force in Afghanistan's government.
Afghanistan saw an uptick of violence as Afghan President Karzai announced that the US and the Taliban are, indeed, meeting.
Even before Osama bin Laden's killing, the Taliban were softening their image while the US, Pakistan, and Afghanistan set the stage for talks. Now the US must decide if it's worth years of further military and diplomatic effort to hammer out an agreement.
In an uncharacteristically blunt move, US Adm. Mike Mullen said publicly that Pakistan had a 'longstanding relationship' with the Haqqani militant group. The US appears to be both prodding Pakistan to finally root out militants in its border region and attempting to set the parameters for Afghan peace talks.
India-Pakistan tensions muddy US efforts in Afghanistan, where Pakistan's cooperation is needed. One key issue: Islamabad is wary of India's broadening regional role.
As Pakistan deals with the fallout from Tuesday's assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani met Wednesday with Pakistan's military chief to help nudge the Taliban to the negotiating table.
The killing of 10 aid workers with the International Assistance Mission in Afghanistan underscores the suspicion Christian-affiliated groups can face from some Afghans and government opponents. Such groups point to codes of conduct they follow in the country.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Pakistan visit will go beyond negotiating tactics ahead of this week's Afghanistan conference. It will aim to move the relationship beyond US pressure to squash Taliban havens.
The US troop surge comes with a new program to pay Taliban-allied villages to switch sides in order to weaken the Taliban's bargaining power in any high-level talks.