KABUL (Agencies) - The United States is in contact with the Taliban about a possible settlement to the near decade-long war in Afghanistan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Saturday, the first official confirmation of US involvement in negotiations. It also confirms speculation that the US was pursuing its own initiative to find a political settlement to the decade-long war. Karzai denied earlier reports - including his own statements - that his government was negotiating with Taliban leaders, but he said that the Americans were doing so. From the government side we dont have any negotiations with them, but the important part is negotiations with the Pakistanis, which are very important for us, he said. The negotiations have started with those people, he said, referring to the Taliban, and God willing these talks will continue. But foreign military forces and especially America are continuing this process, Karzai said in a speech in Kabul. Karzai said that an Afghan push towards peace talks had not yet reached a stage where the government and insurgents were meeting, but their representatives had been in touch. The peace negotiations between (the) Afghan government and the Taliban movement are not yet based on a certain agenda or physical (meetings), there are contacts established. The State Department declined to say whether the United States was in talks with the Taliban, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced. It did however acknowledge a broad range of contacts in support of reconciliation efforts to help end a nearly decade-long war with the insurgency. A State Department spokeswoman had no comment on Karzais statement earlier Saturday that Washington was in talks with the Taliban. However, we have consistently supported an Afghan-led process of reconciliation, spokeswoman Megan Mattson told AFP. Currently, we have a broad range of contacts across Afghanistan and the region, and at many levels, to support that effort. Karzai was speaking the day after the UN Security Council split the UN sanctions list for Taliban and al Qaeda figures into two, which envoys said could help induce the Taliban into talks on a peace deal in Afghanistan. The council unanimously passed two resolutions on Friday, setting up one new blacklist of individuals and organisations accused of links to al Qaeda and a second for those linked to the Taliban militia. The two groups have until now been handled by the same sanctions committee. But the international powers wanted to separate them to highlight the divide between al Qaedas global jihadist agenda and the Talibans focus on Afghanistan. Despite hopes that talks with the Taliban could provide the political underpinning for the US staged withdrawal from Afghanistan, the discussions are still not at the stage where they can be a deciding factor. Diplomats admit there have been months of preliminary talks between the two sides, but the US has never confirmed any contacts. And so little is known about the exchanges that they have been open to widely different interpretations. Afghanistans neighbours are nervous about plans for a strategic partnership with the United States, which may include long-term bases on Afghan soil, Karzai also warned. The issue of strategic partnership deal with US has caused tensions with our neighbours, Karzai said. When we sign this strategic partnership, at the same time we must have peace in Afghanistan. That is unlikely however, as the deal is expected to be concluded in months, and even the most optimistic supporters of talks expect the process to take years. If successful, the deal might ease worries among those Afghans who fear the United States will pull out too quickly, leaving a weak, impoverished government to fend off militants, and those who worry the foreign forces they see as occupiers will never leave. President Barack Obama is expected to announce next month how many troops he plans to withdraw from Afghanistan as part of a commitment to begin reducing the US military presence from July and hand over to Afghan security forces by 2014. The United States is on the verge of announcing a substantial drawdown of American troops from Afghanistan, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Friday. Theres going to be a drawdown. I am confident that it will be one thats substantial. I certainly hope so, the leading Senate Democrat said during an interview with PBS Newshour. There currently are about 100,000 US troops fighting in Afghanistan, up from about 34,000 when Obama took office in 2009. Meanwhile, the Taliban have denied any talks with the US. We have already said this and have repeated it many times. We have no negotiation with the US and we deny any report as such, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP. Meanwhile, nine people were killed Saturday when three attackers armed with suicide vests and machine-guns stormed a police station in the heart of the Afghan capital Kabul, officials said. The militants, at least one of whom was in army uniform, got into a compound housing the police station in the crowded main central market area, near the Afghan presidential palace, defence ministry and other official buildings. Five civilians were among the dead along with three policemen and one officer from Afghanistans intelligence agency, interior ministry spokesman Najib Nikzad said. Ten civilians and two police were wounded. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest embarrassing breach at a supposedly secure location in Kabul, which comes weeks before limited foreign troop withdrawals are due to start from Afghanistan. One of the attackers detonated his explosives at the entrance to the compound, allowing his two accomplices into the building, the interior ministry said. Once inside, they fired at police, sparking a gun battle which lasted for around two hours before the pair were killed. Three suicide attackers with weapons and explosive vests attacked the police station, Nikzad said. One of them detonated himself in front of the gate of the station and two others were killed following a firefight with police. In this incident, three policemen, one intelligence officer and five civilians were killed and two police, along with 10 other civilians were wounded. he added. The finance ministry said two of its employees who worked nearby were among those who died. Parts of the city centre were sealed off following the attack and hundreds of people were evacuated. At least one of the men was dressed in Afghan army uniform, according to local television which showed pictures of what it said was his dead body. The Taliban have carried out similar brazen attacks in the past against Afghan security forces in Kabul. Six people were killed at a military hospital by a suicide bomber in military uniform last month, while three died in April when another uniformed attacker opened fire inside the defence ministry. Control of security in Kabul is already the responsibility of Afghan forces but there is a heavy foreign military and civilian presence in the city.