Afghan Foreign Minister in Qatar for Talks on Taliban, Bilateral Ties

Posted April 3rd, 2012 at 7:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Afghanistan's foreign minister, Zalmay Rasool, on a two-day visit to Qatar, says reconciliation talks with the Taliban must be led by the Afghan government.

Following talks with his Qatari counterpart, Khaled al-Attiyah, in Doha Tuesday, Rasool said the two sides also discussed the opening in Qatar of a Taliban political office which will serve to facilitate negotiations.

Al-Attiyah told a joint news conference Qatar would talk to all Afghan parties in the reconciliation process.

Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Musazai told VOA Tuesday that Rasool's visit to Qatar has two goals: to strengthen bilateral ties — including the signing of bilateral agreements in the field of politics, economy, business and investment — and to open a Qatari embassy in Kabul.

Taliban negotiators met with U.S. officials in Qatar for a series of discussions aimed at building trust and preparing both sides for upcoming peace talks. But the militant group suspended the talks in the aftermath of the killing of 16 Afghan civilians last month, allegedly by a U.S. soldier.