KABUL – Afghan President Hamid Karzai held an unprecedented meeting Monday with representatives of a major Taliban-linked militant group, boosting his outreach to insurgency leaders to end the eight-year war.

Less certain is whether the talks with the weakened Hizb-i-Islami represent a game-changer in the conflict, given the faction’s demand to rewrite the Afghan constitution and force a quick exit of foreign forces.

It is the first time that high-ranking representatives of the group, led by warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, have traveled to Kabul to discuss peace. The reconciliation offer from Hekmatyar contrasts with his reputation as a ruthless extremist.

Hekmatyar’s power has waned over the years and he commands far fewer fighters than the Taliban. Nevertheless, Hizb-i-Islami is very active in at least four provinces of eastern Afghanistan and parts of the north. His defection from the insurgency would be a coup for Karzai and could encourage some Taliban commanders to explore their own peace deals.

Talking with the Taliban and other insurgent groups is gaining traction in Afghanistan, even as thousands of U.S. and NATO reinforcements are streaming in to reverse the insurgents’ momentum. The talks have not stemmed the fighting. NATO reported three service members were killed Monday in separate explosions in southern Afghanistan.