Top US envoy met Taliban in Qatar: Afghan official

By AFP
Published: February 8, 2012

The talks between the Taliban and Marc Grossman came in late January, a source says. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

KABUL: Washington’s chief envoy to Afghanistan met Taliban leaders in Qatar as part of US efforts to bring the insurgents to the negotiating table, a senior Afghan official said on Wednesday.

The talks between the Taliban and Marc Grossman came in late January, after he met Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, the official said, asking to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Grossman, President Barack Obama’s chief envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, later briefed Karzai about his talks with Taliban representatives during a visit by the Afghan leader to Italy.

“I can confirm that Mr Grossman met with the Taliban representatives in Qatar. When the president (Karzai) was in Rome, he came over to his residence and briefed him about his meetings with the Taliban,” the official said.

The US, which heads a 130,000-strong force fighting a Taliban insurgency against Karzai’s government, has made tentative moves towards talks with the Taliban in Qatar, where they plan to open an office.

Karzai, rejected by the Taliban as a “puppet”, has said publicly that he supports the plan, but was widely reported to be concerned that he would be sidelined in the Taliban’s talks with the US.

Washington dispatched Grossman to Kabul last month to assure the Afghan president of a leading role once the talks get under way.

The official told AFP that during his visit to Kabul Grossman met Karzai twice and “a number of agreements were made over a number of issues concerning Taliban talks”.

He refused to give details but “our stance is unchanged: the president wants the talks to be Afghan-led and Afghan owned”, he said.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Shahid
    Feb 8, 2012 - 9:06PM

    I think it is in best interest of Pakistan to encourage USA and others to try to redraw boundrues in Afghanistan and divide Afghanistan into three or atleast two seperate states. The ethnic and seterian divide is so deep that I don’t think they can ever live in peace togather. The pashtun majority areas can be given the choice to merge with Pakistan which would be a much better choice for everyone.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Feb 9, 2012 - 2:26AM

    Hamid Karzai is determined to prove himself indispensible. He managed to win Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar support to “lead” and “own” these talks. The insurgents have little regard for his integrity and his corrupt government. So what he’s doing is just another hype of his self-importance.

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  • Rafaqat
    Feb 9, 2012 - 3:01AM

    @Shahid:

    Most Pakistanis want nothing to do with afghans what so ever. They certainly don’t want to import afghanistan’s problems any more than we already have !!

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  • Azad Pashtun
    Feb 9, 2012 - 3:39AM

    @Shahid:
    The pashtun majority areas can be given the choice to merge with Pakistan which would be a much better choice for everyone.

    Sure, let’s have a referendum for the Pashtun dominated areas of Afghanistan (south and east Afghanistan) and Pakistan (KP and FATA) to see if Pashtuns want to be part of Pakistan or independent.

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