KABUL (AFP) - The arrest of Taliban leaders has had a 'negative impact on peace talks between the Afghan government and the insurgents, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai said Saturday. The recent arrests in Pakistan of the Talibans second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and others, slowed down Afghan government initiatives to broker peace, Siamak Hirawi told AFP. We confirm the negative impact of the arrests on the peace process that the Afghan government has initiated, said Hirawi, Karzais deputy spokesman. His was the first official confirmation from the Kabul government that there had been contact with the Taliban, with the intention of discussing an end to the insurgency now in its ninth year. He also confirmed that the former UN envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, had held peace talks with Taliban figures and said Eide had kept the Afghan government informed of his actions. Hirawi said Eides talks with the Taliban were part of a process initiated by the UN to help the Afghan governments peace plan. Of course, he was keeping the Afghan government informed of his talks, he said. Mr Kai Eides efforts were a supplement to Afghan governments (peace) efforts, he said. Until now Karzais office has said there had been no direct contact with the Taliban and refused to comment on indirect contact. There has also been no official mention of contact with the movements leadership.