TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Afghan leader in Qatar to discuss peace talks

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Sunday, March 31, 2013, 9:27 p.m.
 

DOHA, Qatar — Afghan President Hamid Karzai met with the emir of Qatar on Sunday in Doha to discuss the possible opening of a Taliban office in the Persian Gulf state.

The move could foster peace negotiations with the Islamic fundamentalist movement in a bid to stem violence as foreign combat forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

The Qatar News Agency said Karzai met with the emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and other senior government officials.

He also held talks with Qatar's ambassador to Pakistan during a tour of an Islamic art museum in Doha.

The report didn't give details, but Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai has said the talks would include the peace process and the opening of a Taliban office.

Karzai's office said he met with Qatari businessmen and Afghan businessmen living in Qatar on Saturday, the start of the two-day trip, to encourage investment in his struggling country.

He said there are many opportunities in the mining industry as well as energy, power, tourism, hotels and banks.

Afghanistan has already agreed the Taliban can open an office in the gulf state if the group breaks all ties with al-Qaida and renounces terrorism. Talks will be led by the High Peace Council, a group of influential Afghans that includes former Taliban.

“The position of the Afghan government for the Taliban to open an office in Qatar is very clear. They should stop their relations with al-Qaida and terrorists and show their readiness for direct negotiations with the Afghan government,” Mosazai said.

Despite Karzai's desire to hold talks with the Taliban, and Qatar's agreement for them to open an office in Doha, the insurgents have not yet accepted the offer.

The Taliban have long refused to speak directly with Karzai or his government, which they view as a puppet of foreign powers. They have said they will negotiate only with the United States, which has in the past held secret talks with them in Qatar. But at Karzai's insistence, the United States has since sought to have the insurgents speak directly with the Afghan government.

Taliban representatives have had back-channel discussions and private meetings with representatives from various countries. A senior U.S. official told the Associated Press recently that the Taliban are talking to representatives of more than 30 countries and indirectly with the United States.

The United Stares has said Afghan-led reconciliation is important for the stability of Afghanistan and the region.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Airstrikes intensify in Yemen as Egypt, Saudis consider ground forces
  2. Conviction overturned in Italy murder case for Seattle woman
  3. Terror strikes Somalia hotel
  4. Israel to release tax funds held over Palestinian Authority’s move to join the ICC
  5. Iran poses top threat to Mideast stability, Israeli consul general says
  6. Israel accused of spying on U.S.-Iran talks
  7. Co-pilot may have hidden illness, German prosecutors say
  8. 137 killed, more than 350 injured in suicide attacks on Yemen mosques
  9. Delivery of biggest warship since WWII another sign of expanding Japanese military
  10. Alone at controls, Germanwings co-pilot sought to ‘destroy’ the plane
  11. Proposed deal would allow Iran to run centrifuges, prohibit building bomb