Report: Pakistanis engaged with Taliban about Afghanistan Qatar talks

June 28, 2013 at 5:48 AM
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ISLAMABAD, June 28 (UPI) -- Pakistani negotiators are talking with the Taliban to get the stalled Afghanistan peace effort started in Qatar, an official told Pakistan's Dawn newspaper.

"The process is continuing," the official told Dawn. "In fact, it is in everyone's interest that the process remains alive."

The talks, with Americans and Afghan officials, were to have started last week at the recently opened Taliban office in Doha, Qatar, but got stalled after the office drew the ire of the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai over the display of the Taliban flag and nameplate. The signs and flag were later removed and the Karzai government said its High Peace Council would take part in the peace process only if it is Afghan-led.

The Afghan government has since agreed to join the Doha process but the Taliban leaders have yet to come up with their formal response.

In a video teleconference Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama and Karzai agreed on the need for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned pace and reconciliation process and expressed support for the Doha office, the White House said.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said Thursday, "We have affirmed our commitment to consider all possible measures that we believe would contribute to the reconciliation process in the larger interest of peace in Afghanistan."

U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins visited Pakistan earlier this week to seek continued support for the troubled peace process, Dawn said.

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