Qatar to talk to all sides for Afghan peace

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iol news pic qatar emir REUTERS Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. Photo: Shannon Stapleton

Dubai - Qatar, which is to allow the Afghan Taliban to open a political office on its soil, said on Tuesday it would talk to all Afghan parties in an effort to reinvigorate the peace process.

The state QNA news agency quoted Minister of State for International Cooperation, Khalid Mohamed al-Attiyah, as saying “We will talk to all parties,” in response to a question on his country's role in reconciling Afghan factions.

He was speaking after meeting Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Zalmay Rasool for talks that dealt with the opening of the Taliban office in Doha, QNA said.

The opening of the office is one of a series of gestures, including the potential transfer of Taliban detainees from the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay prison to Qatar, meant to inject momentum into the first political negotiations on the Afghan conflict since a U.S. invasion ousted the Taliban in 2001.

The Taliban has suspended talks on a political settlement in the aftermath of the killing of 16 Afghans by a U.S. soldier and other incidents, but a relative of the Taliban's main negotiators said last month they would resume.

The Pentagon is talking to the Qatari government about the conditions of the prisoner transfer, but no agreement has been reached on safeguards that would satisfy U.S. worries about the security of senior Taliban fighters. - Reuters

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