Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is in Qatar for a two-day visit, has met with the Emir as part of an ongoing peace process with the Taliban, QNA reports.
“The session was attended by HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and a number of ministers. On the Afghani side it was attended by members of the official delegation accompanying President Karzai. Talks during the session dealt with relations between the two countries and means of developing them, as well as matters of mutual concern,” the state news agency states.
Though he previously opposed the idea of the Taliban opening an office here, Karzai now appears to have changed his mind – with conditions.
Aimal Faizi, a presidential spokesman, told the AFP news agency yesterday:
“It can only be an address where the armed opposition sit and talk to the Afghanistan government,” he said. “This office can not be used for any other purposes.”
However, Taliban officials said they were not interested in negotiating with Karzai, dismissing him as a “puppet” of the US government, AFP continues:
The opening of the Taliban office in Qatar is not related to Karzai, it is a matter between the Taliban and the Qatar government,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP.
“If Karzai visits, it is not our concern. Our representatives who are already in Qatar won’t see or talk to him.
Talks of opening a Taliban office in Qatar have been going on for more than a year, but were repeatedly suspended when relations between US and Taliban officials grew strained.
And it wasn’t until January that all parties working to set it up, including the White House, Qatar and Karzai, openly acknowledged that it was going to happen.
Credit: Photo of Karzai’s Saturday arrival to Doha courtesy of the Presidential Palace of Afghanistan on Twitter