WASHINGTON (AFP) - US military chief Michael Mullen said on Monday conditions are not right yet for talks with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. Holding negotiations with elements of the Taliban should be part of a long-term strategy in Afghanistan but it is not the right time for such a move, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, told a news conference. "At some point in time, we get to a point in these insurgencies where you peel off the reconcilables and I think you start having conversations with those who are reconcilable," Mullen said. "At least from my perspective, we're not there yet," he said. Mullen said the same approach was used successfully in Iraq and in counter-insurgency efforts elsewhere, saying that it was "very realistic" to pursue talks with insurgents in Afghanistan. "It's happened in other insurgencies historically, and I think it will happen here, as well." Earlier, a White House official cast strong doubt on the willingness of the Taliban's reclusive leader to spurn his group's violent ways and back the Afghan government. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe reacted bluntly to an offer from Afghan President Hamid Karzai to 'go to any lengths' to provide protection to Mullah Omar if the militant agrees to enter peace talks. Karzai said international forces can go home if they disagree. "No one has heard from Mullah Omar in sometime, and given attacks like last week's when some Taliban threw acid on girls going to school, many don't seem to show a willingness to negotiate," Johndroe said. "We're not seeing any indication from Mullah Omar that he is ready to renounce violence, break all ties to al-Qaeda and support the Afghan government and constitution." Johndroe said the United States maintains 'good relations' with Afghanistan and emphasised that Karzai is committed to establishing 'a secure, stable democracy'. He said the United States and the international community must continue its support for the Afghan government. "Ultimately, we're hopeful that reconcilable Taliban will lay down their arms and choose to play a productive part in Afghan society, but sadly, so far, they continue to attack innocent civilians and coalition forces on a regular basis," Johndroe said. Meanwhile, a Taliban leader rejected on Monday an offer from Afghan President Hamid Karzai of safe passage for insurgent leaders who wanted to talk peace, reports the International Herald Tribune. "We are safe in Afghanistan and we have no need for Hamid Karzai's offer of safety," said Mullah Brother, deputy leader of the Taliban. "We will continue jihad (holy war) against foreign troops and their Afghan slaves," he told a British news agency by satellite telephone from an undisclosed location. The Taliban refer to Karzai as a US "slave."