Sunday, January 29, 2012

US starts negotiations with Taliban

Pakistani Taliban fighters hold weapons as they receive training in Ladda, South Waziristan tribal region, in this still image taken from a video (Reuters / Reuters TV)
RT News
January 29, 2012

Qatar is hosting a pilot round of negotiations between US officials and Taliban representatives, to discuss steps to put an end to the war in Afghanistan, the New York Times reports.
Unnamed former Taliban officials said that among other issues, the parties would discuss POW transfer from Guantanamo to Qatar.
Kabul expects a delegation from Qatar to visit the Afghan capital to clarify its position in the talks, said High Peace Council Secretary Aminundin Muzaffari.
A delegation of eight Taliban delegates has traveled to Qatar via Pakistan. They are expected to set up a permanent office of the Taliban in Qatar.
The Taliban has not yet provided official comments on the talks, while US officials have not denied the talks are taking place.
The New York Times points out that such talks would be impossible without at least the silent approval of Pakistan. This, in turn, could possibly mean that the discord in American-Pakistani relations caused by recent US strikes on Pakistan’s territory, has softened.
The first rumors about the US considering peace talks with the Taliban appeared in October 2010, when Afghan President Hamid Karzai inaugurated the Afghan High Peace Council of 68 people to help bring some understanding between the Taliban and Kabul. 
Back then, the Taliban refused to take part in talks until 152,000 US-led foreign troops leave Afghanistan. Then-NATO commander in Afghanistan, US General David Petraeus refused to fulfill this demand.
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