Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Air Algerie investigation continues

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Dozens of youths trampled to death on Conakry beach

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

UNRWA official breaks down over Gaza deaths

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

  • Kerry, Ban announce 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

  • Investigators reach MH17 site amid 24-hour ceasefire

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

Middle east

US officials, Taliban begin preliminary talks in Qatar

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-30

Members of the Taliban began preliminary talks with US officials in Qatar on Sunday in a "trust-building" measure ahead of multilateral peace negotiations aimed at ending the 10-year-long conflict in Afghanistan.

AFP - Taliban negotiators have begun holding preliminary talks with US officials in Qatar on plans for peace negotiations aimed at ending the decade-long war in Afghanistan, a former Taliban official said Sunday.

"The actual peace talks have not yet begun -- they are in the process of trust-building and obviously this will take some time," Mawlavi Qalamuddin told AFP.

Qalamuddin, who once led the Taliban's feared religious police when the hardline Islamists were in power, is now a member of the High Peace Council appointed by the government of President Hamid Karzai.

The Taliban, ousted from power by a US-led invasion in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, announced earlier this month that they planned to set up a political office in Qatar ahead of talks with Washington.

Qalamuddin said the delegation already in the Gulf state included Mohammad Tayeb Agha, a close ally and secretary of Taliban leader Mullah Omar, and Shahabuddin Delawar, the Taliban's former ambassador to Riyadh.

With them were Sher Mohammad Abaas Stanikzai, former deputy foreign minister in the Taliban government, and Aziz-Ul Rahman, a former Taliban diplomat in Dubai, said Qalamuddin.

"At the moment the delegation is holding preliminary talks. It's in its very early phases. You need to build some trust before starting talks."

One of the trust-building measures demanded by the Taliban is the release of five of its members from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, while Washington wants the insurgents to renounce violence.

Qalamuddin said the Taliban delegation "obviously" went to Qatar from Pakistan, indicating that Afghanistan's southern neighbour -- accused by Kabul of blocking past attempts at peace talks -- could be getting on board.

Another sign of a thaw between the two countries came with the announcement Sunday that Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will visit Kabul on Wednesday.

Afghan foreign ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai said the visit would mark a "new phase" in cooperation between the two countries, adding that Khar would hold talks with Afghan Foreign Minister Zulmai Rasoul and President Hamid Karzai.

"Both sides will discuss the fight against terrorism and Pakistan's essential support to the peace process in Afghanistan.

"Pakistan plays a key role in Afghan peace process and Afghanistan need a sincere effort of our neighbouring country toward peace negotiations," Mosazai said.

Khar's visit comes after Pakistan made overtures to Afghanistan to resume talks over the Taliban which broke down following the assassination of Kabul's chief peace envoy, Burhanuddin Rabbani, in September, officials said.

Karzai accused Pakistan of responsibility for the murder and last month said Islamabad was sabotaging all attempts at negotiations with the Taliban.

The president was initially wary of being sidelined in the Qatar talks, and Washington despatched special envoy Marc Grossman to Kabul last week to assure him of a central role for his government in any major negotiations.

In another effort to soothe Karzai's doubts, a delegation from the Qatar government is expected to visit Kabul to explain its role in the talks, High Peace Council secretary Aminundin Muzaffari told AFP.

"We are expecting a delegation from Qatar to come to Kabul to discuss with us the role of Afghans in peace talks and when and how peace talks in Qatar should happen and proceed.
 

Date created : 2012-01-30

  • AFGHANISTAN

    Afghans criticise French plan for 2013 troop withdrawal

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN Q&A

    ‘A Taliban office in Doha could answer the Afghan question’

    Read more

  • AFGHANISTAN

    Karzai blames shrine attacks on Pakistani anti-Shiite group

    Read more

COMMENT(S)