Taliban office in Qatar approved by US

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by agentperry, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

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    THE US has given its blessing for the Taliban to be brought in from the cold with a critical step towards reconciliation as the world paused to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

    Washington has endorsed plans for the Islamist network to open political headquarters in the gulf state of Qatar by the end of the year. The move has been devised so the West can begin formal peace talks with the Taliban.

    As a potent reminder of the potential value of a truce with the Taliban, attacks by the Islamist network in Afghanistan yesterday left two dead and 101 wounded in a truck bomb, marking one of the bloodiest days for American forces since the US invasion 10 years ago.

    The office of the self-styled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan would be the first internationally recognised representation for the Taliban since its fall in 2001.

    The White House declined to comment on the development last night as Mr Obama addressed the nation on the anniversary of the al-Qa'ida attacks. In the decade since, there has been a shift in Washington's attitudes towards the Taliban and a growing official distinction between the Pashtun nationalists and their former allies in al-Qa'ida.


    Western diplomats said it was hoped the opening of the Taliban office would help to advance talks intended to reconcile insurgents with the Afghan government and bring an end to the decade-long US-led war.

    Qatar is believed to have agreed to host the office after Washington insisted that it be located outside Pakistan's sphere of influence. The Afghan government has accused Islamabad of meddling in several previous efforts to negotiate with Taliban intermediaries in an effort to preserve its influence inside Afghanistan.

    Western officials said the opening of the office would serve as a confidence-building measure in the lead-up to what they hope will become formal talks towards ending the war.

    It would be an address where they had a political office, said one Western diplomat. It would not be an embassy or a consulate but a residence where they could be treated like a political party.

    The diplomat stressed the Taliban would not be permitted to use the office for fundraising or in support of their armed struggle in Afghanistan. It is understood the Taliban is seeking assurances that its representatives in Doha, the Qatari capital, would be free from the threat of harassment or arrest.

    The initiative follows more than a year of informal stop-start talks between Western diplomats and a senior representative of the Taliban, Tayyab Agha, at the home of a former Taliban diplomat in Qatar.

    Abdul Hakim Mujahid, the former Taliban ambassador to Islamabad and one-time envoy to the UN in New York, said Mr Agha was negotiating with the personal authority of the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar. Western diplomats said there was little hope of brokering a end to the conflict without his blessing. Previous attempts at negotiations have foundered over the credentials of intermediaries.

    Mr Mujahid said the Taliban was seeking to develop its direct contacts with the US because it had little faith in Afghan President Hamid Karzai's ability to honour promises without US backing.

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    pakistani isi involvement and blackmailing is now tamed.
     
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  3. sesha_maruthi27

    sesha_maruthi27 Senior Member Senior Member

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    If you cannot defeat your enemy then it is better to share with your enemy..........
     
  4. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    Taliban to have a mission in Qatar

    NEW DELHI: Final arrangements have been put in place for the opening of a Taliban mission in the state of Qatar — the Islamist insurgent group's first formal diplomatic office since it was evicted from power after 9/11 and internationally proscribed for its links to al-Qaeda, said an Indian newspaper report.

    Indian diplomatic sources told the mission will be designated as a political office for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the Taliban calls itself, and have the privileges but not the formal protection of a diplomatic mission.

    Taliban envoy Tayyab Agha, former private secretary to Mullah Omar, met representatives of the United States in Qatar last week to hammer out details on the role of the office, the sources said. Shahabudin Dilawar and Sohail Shaheen, both former Taliban diplomats, accompanied Mr. Agha.

    Mullah Muhammad Zaeef, a Kabul-based interlocutor between the West and the Taliban's Pakistan leadership who served as the Emirate's envoy to Islamabad before 9/11, is said to be among those being considered to serve as the head of the political office. Mr. Zaeef's appointment is however being resisted by hardliners in Taliban chief Mullah Muhammad Omar's Pakistan-based command council, the sources said.

    News that the Taliban was planning an overseas mission first emerged in September. Both Istanbul and Qatar were considered possible headquarters for the mission. The Gulf kingdom was finally picked, the sources said, because of its proximity to the region — and also because the U.S. Air Force base there would facilitate logistics.

    Efforts to talk peace with the Taliban have been marked by missteps. Earlier this year, Afghan authorities had announced they were calling off negotiations with the Taliban, after a suicide bomber assassinated key peace negotiator and former president Burhanuddin Rabbani.

    Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai later told journalists his government could not “keep talking to suicide bombers, therefore we have stopped talking about talking to the Taliban until we have an address for the Taliban.”

    The decision to allow Taliban to open an office would provide negotiators with such an address — but efforts are divided on the prospects of successful negotiations.

    Past efforts to secure agreement — which include three rounds of meetings with Mr. Agha and separate talks with Ibrahim Haqqani, the brother-in-law of key Taliban-allied warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani — floundered because the United States refused to commit to a full pull-out of western troops, saying they were needed to make sure that jihadist groups with global ambitions did not re-establish themselves in the country.

    Islamabad, meanwhile, is reported to have moved forward with fresh efforts to secure a peace deal on its side of the Afghan border. Fresh talks are said to have been initiated with Wali Muhammad, commander of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in Waziristan, and his Bajaur-area counterpart, Faqir Muhammad.

    Pakistan hopes that simultaneous peace deals with jihadists on both sides of the border, involving ceding some political power in return for an end to violence, will help end an insurgency its army has so far failed to contain.

    Taliban to have a mission in Qatar
     
  5. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    3 important developments here.

    This is happening right after the Bonn conference, something that was being tried for a very long time. Important to note is pakistan did not take part in the conference.

    Mullah Muhammad Zaeef's name is doing the rounds and is a very important name to take note of, since he has been one of the biggest critiques of the two faced, double dealing pakistan and pakistan will do everything to make sure he doesnt get appointed, but if he does then that will show the mistrust between the taliban and pakistan still exists and taliban are not ready to completely toe the pakistani line.

    The news is being leaked from India, tells you something about where pakistan is in the picture and how the karzai office is being used by the Indians.
     
    nrj and Zebra like this.
  6. utubekhiladi

    utubekhiladi The Preacher Elite Member

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    Taliban to open Qatar office for peace talks

    KABUL, Afghanistan - (AP) -- The Taliban announced Tuesday that they will open an office in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar to hold talks with the United States, an unprecedented step toward a peace process that might lead to a winding down of the 10-year war in Afghanistan.

    Although U.S. and Taliban representatives have met secretly several times over the past year in Europe and the Persian Gulf, this is the first time the Islamist insurgent group has publicly expressed willingness for substantive negotiations.

    In recent months, the idea of a Taliban political office in the Qatari capital of Doha has become a central element in U.S. efforts to draw the insurgents into such talks. The idea is to give the Taliban more legitimacy to negotiate in a location that presumably would at least partly shield them from Pakistani pressure.

    Asked about the Taliban announcement, White House spokesman Jay Carney welcomed "any step ... of the Afghan-led process toward reconciliation." He noted that "peace cannot come to Afghanistan without a political settlement."

    But negotiations could falter if they do not sufficiently involve President Hamid Karzai's government, which the Taliban have dismissed as a puppet regime. Karzai's inner circle derailed last year's behind-the-scenes talks, and the Afghan leader only grudgingly agreed to the idea of the Taliban's setting up a liaison office in Qatar.

    Another potential spoiler is Pakistan, which houses most of the Taliban leadership as well as the Haqqani network, which carries out major attacks in the Afghan capital of Kabul. Pakistan believes it should have a say in any talks involving neighboring Afghanistan, which it fears will develop an alliance with its archrival, India.

    Pakistan has rejected U.S. requests to mount an offensive against the Haqqani network, and relations between the two countries are at an all-time low following a cross-border incident that resulted in NATO airstrikes killing 24 Pakistani soldiers.

    As the United States begins to draw down the nearly 100,000 forces it has in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama's administration wants to use its current extensive military campaign and an acknowledged but incomplete plan for a long-term American presence in the country as leverage to draw the Taliban into talks with Karzai representatives.

    The likelihood that the Taliban will remain a potent fighting force after most foreign forces leave by the end of 2014 is driving the U.S. and NATO to seek even an incomplete bargain with the insurgents that would keep them talking with the Kabul government.

    For the U.S., one goal of such talks would be to identify cease-fire zones that could be used as a steppingstone toward a full peace agreement that stops most fighting.

    The gradual process of handing over areas of the country to Afghan security control would ideally be marshaled toward encouraging peace talks, by identifying areas where a cease-fire could be tested, a senior administration official told The Associated Press last week.

    Obama is hosting a NATO summit in his hometown of Chicago in May that will focus on Afghanistan, and his administration would like some good news to announce in an election year. U.S. officials are always careful to say that talks with the Taliban are not a reward for good behavior, but rather that they serve American interests.

    "We've always said that Taliban reconciliation would only come on the condition of breaking from al-Qaida, abandoning violence and abiding by the Afghan constitution," Carney said Tuesday.

    It was unclear why the Taliban agreed publicly to hold talks. Previously, the official Taliban position was no talks until the U.S.-led coalition leaves Afghanistan.

    By their own admission, the Taliban hope to win the release of about five prisoners from the U.S. lockup at Guantanamo Bay.

    The militants have taken a pounding in their southern heartland, and foreign troops have escalated a campaign against them in eastern Afghanistan. Hundreds of their low- and middle-level commanders have been picked up in night raids carried out by Afghan and coalition forces.

    Talks have been held in the past about a location for a Taliban office, and other locations included Saudi Arabia and Turkey. But Qatar apparently emerged as a preferred neutral Islamic country where the U.S. also has a large military presence.

    "The Taliban have chosen Qatar because it supported their government, and the Americans chose it because they have their big military and intelligence base in Qatar," said Abdul Hadi Khaled, an ethnic Tajik who served as a deputy interior minister in Karzai's Cabinet.

    "Overall I hope that this is a start, but the rest of the work should be in this country and the Afghan government should be fully involved in the peace process," Khaled said.

    The Taliban announcement came in the form of a statement e-mailed to the Kabul press corps and posted on the militants' website.

    "Right now, having a strong presence in Afghanistan, we still want to have a political office for negotiations," said the statement, attributed to Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid. "In this regard, we have started preliminary talks and we have reached a preliminary understanding with relevant sides, including the government of Qatar, to have a political office for negotiations with the international community."
    The statement did not say when the office would open.

    One member of the Taliban negotiating team has been publicly identified as Tayyab Aga, an emissary of Pakistan-based Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. Other participants include a former Taliban ambassador to Saudi Arabia and a former Taliban deputy health minister, a senior Afghan official in the region said recently on condition that he not be identified.

    The Taliban statement indicated that the liaison office will conduct negotiations with the international community but not with the Afghan government -- a condition that Karzai has indicated he would reject.

    "There are two essential sides in the current situation in the country that has been ongoing for the past 10 years. One is the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the other side is the United States of America and their foreign allies," Mujahid said, referring to the name of Afghanistan under Taliban rule more than a decade ago.

    Karzai's office had no immediate comment.

    The prospect of formal peace talks suffered a serious setback in September when Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former Afghan president and the head of the High Peace Council, was assassinated by an attacker posing as a Taliban peace emissary.

    After Rabbani's death, Karzai said peace efforts could take place only if the Taliban established a political office that would be authorized to conduct talks.

    Last month, Karzai initially balked when the plan for Qatar appeared to have been settled without him, officials said, and recalled his ambassador for consultations over reports that the Taliban was planning to open an office there. Karzai backed down in late December.

    The U.S. goal is to midwife talks between the insurgents and the U.S.-backed Afghan government led by Karzai, who frequently has felt sidelined by the U.S. as it pursues talks with the Taliban. He bills peace talks as an Afghan-led process, which the U.S. insists is also its goal.

    The U.S. outreach is meant to jump-start negotiations, U.S. officials have said, but they acknowledge that their efforts can feed the perception that Karzai is not fully in charge.

    Wahid Muzhda, a former Taliban foreign ministry official and an analyst on issues related to the group, said any talks would probably be "between the Americans and Taliban, but the Afghan government or High Peace Council representatives will be in the talks."

    For its part, the Taliban statement said the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has "requested for the exchange of prisoners from Guantanamo."
    The AP has learned the identity of some of these prisoners, including Khairullah Khairkhwa, former Taliban governor of Herat, and Mullah Mohammed Fazl, a former top Taliban military commander believed responsible for sectarian killings before the U.S. invasion that toppled the Taliban government in Afghanistan in 2001.

    At the White House, Carney said "we're not in a position to discuss ongoing deliberations or individual detainees, but our goal of closing Guantanamo is well-established and widely understood."

    The Taliban are holding Bowe Bergdahl, a 25-year-old U.S. Army sergeant from Hailey, Idaho. Bergdahl, the only U.S. soldier held by the insurgents, was captured on June 30, 2009, in Afghanistan.

    Taliban to open Qatar office for peace talks
     
  7. utubekhiladi

    utubekhiladi The Preacher Elite Member

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    welcome to 2012 :D where even terrorist will open shops and office :troll:
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Qatar is dependant on the US.

    An extraordinary development!

    Something fishy!
     
  9. indian_sukhoi

    indian_sukhoi Regular Member

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    This is hilarious and weird too!!
     
  10. SpArK

    SpArK SORCERER Senior Member

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    Qatar will give office tax free.

    And this is a good business opportunity for Pakistan, they can get the outsourced customer support centres all over Rawalpindi. :scared2:
     
  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Taliban has been bought!

    Hallelujah!
     
  12. cir

    cir Senior Member Senior Member

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    So after 10 years of hard and hopeless struggles against the Taliban, the Americans are going on their knees to seek a way out。

    So much for the world's sole superpower!:rofl:
     
  13. lcatejas

    lcatejas Regular Member

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    Gr8 yaar ... now Musharraf will get job in Qatar....CEO:lol: followed by Zardari and Kayani he he he
     
  14. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    They should invite all the top leaders of Taliban for a conference and put a hellfire missile on the rooftop.
     

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