BERLIN — President Barack Obama says it's no surprise that there's friction in early efforts to launch peace talks between the Taliban and Afghanistan's government.

But Obama says even though the war is still ongoing, there must be a parallel track to political reconciliation.

Prospects for reconciliation talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government were dampened Wednesday when Afghan President Hamid Karzai suspended security talks with the U.S. and the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack that killed four U.S. troops.

Obama says the Taliban and the Afghan government distrust each other and have been fighting for years. He says only Afghans can decide whether the reconciliation process can start while the war is continuing.

Obama spoke at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN'-geh-lah MEHR'-kuhl).