The United States welcomes Afghan reconciliation efforts but believes recent reports about secret talks between the Taliban and Afghan government are exaggerated, the senior U.S. official for Pakistan and Afghanistan said. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke said in Berlin on Monday that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has made it clear his government has been in contact with people in the Taliban on a continuing basis. But he warned against over-emphasising those contacts. "The reports greatly exceed the reality," Holbrooke told a group of journalists and German political leaders. "It's the press 'flavour of the month' to write about this subject." The Washington Post reported last week that the Taliban representatives taking part in the meetings were authorized to speak for the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban organization based in Pakistan, and its leader, Mullah Omar. A senior U.S. administration official said in Washington there had been a series of what he called "engagements" between Afghan officials and the Taliban for the past few months. The United States supports the reconciliation efforts aimed at ending a 9-year-old war that has worsened despite the presence of nearly 150,000 foreign troops in the country. President Barack Obama has backed Karzai's efforts to open the door to Taliban members who renounce violence and links to al Qaeda, but Washington has so far been wary of overtures to Taliban leaders. Holbrooke said the United States is not in the talks. "The facts are, as President Karzai stated in a CNN interview to be broadcast tonight, what he said was quite clear there: that they've been in contact with people with the Taliban on a continuing basis. "We're not involved in those talks but we support them provided they follow the 'red lines' that are absolutely critical because we have a strategic interest here," he added. He said the 'red lines' are: "That anyone deciding to rejoin the political system in Afghanistan has to renounce al Qaeda, lay down their arms and participate in the constitution with particular attention to role of minorities and women. "If people do that, there's room for them. Thousands of people rallied to the government since 2002 under those provisions. And the door is open for that. And that's what President Karzai is working on -- with our support."