KABUL (AFP) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday urged the Taliban to join talks to bring peace to the war-torn country, despite the insurgents leadership ruling out negotiations. On this holy day of Eidul Azha I once again call on those compatriots who are unhappy, I request them to join the peace efforts, Karzai said in a statement to mark the major Muslim festival. Karzai has previously appealed to the Taliban to come to the negotiating table and low-level commanders are said to have already spoken to the government in Kabul. Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai remains a partner of the United States, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday after harsh criticism of US military policy from the Afghan leader. We will continue to partner with him through this conflict, Gates said at a Wall Street Journal conference at which he played down the Afghan presidents complaints, calling Karzai our partner. Karzai called over the weekend for the United States to reduce its military footprint in his country, saying Afghans were losing patience with the continued US presence, which was worsening the war against the Taliban. Karzais recent comments conveyed the frustrations of a country that has been in a state of war for decades, Gates said. I think President Karzai is reflecting the impatience of a country thats been at war for 30 years, he said. Karzai was voicing a desire by Afghans to return to a more peaceful era in the 1950s and 1960s, when Washingtons role focused on civilian development aid, he said. Gates said the United States shared that goal but that it would take time. He added that NATO was expected to endorse a plan at a summit this week in Lisbon to hand over security duties to Afghan forces by 2014.