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No truce, says Afghan Taliban

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U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Steven Armenta patrols through Qalat City, Afghanistan, on Aug. 9, 2011. Armenta is a member of Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul's security force. UPI/Grovert Fuentes-Contreras/USAF | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/df1b8f392d57c06fd7eee921b3709dc6/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Steven Armenta patrols through Qalat City, Afghanistan, on Aug. 9, 2011. Armenta is a member of Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul's security force. UPI/Grovert Fuentes-Contreras/USAF | License Photo

DOHA, Qatar, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Taliban authorities said following negotiations in Qatar that they'd agree to a cease-fire when foreign forces pulled out of Afghanistan.

Taliban officials in Afghanistan agreed to set up a liaison office in Qatar to facilitate peace negotiations with the Afghan government. Media reports Monday also suggest U.S. officials had met with the Afghan Taliban in Qatar during the weekend.

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A source close to the Taliban was quoted by cable broadcaster MSNBC as saying the fighting in Afghanistan wouldn't stop while international forces are in the country.

"Our stance is the same," the source said. "We will announce a cease-fire when the foreign forces start their withdrawal from Afghanistan."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had expressed support for Taliban talks, something U.S. officials favor so long as the Afghan Taliban agree to honor the political process.

Karzai, The Christian Science Monitor reports, is to meet with Taliban leaders in Saudi Arabia. The newspaper described this as a breakthrough as the Taliban, the former leaders of Afghanistan, have so far refused to recognize the legitimacy of Karzai's government.

Hamid Mir, a Pakistani journalist and regional analyst, told the Monitor, however, that it was premature to describe Taliban talks as a victory.

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"Karzai is trying to give an impression that he is in contact with the Taliban, the Americans are trying to give the same impression but the real Taliban who are fighting under Mullah Omar, they are very clever, they don't trust the Pakistani establishment, they don't trust Karzai and they don't trust the Americans," he said.

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