THE Taliban announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to open a “political office” in Qatar to hold talks with the United States, the first time the militant group has confirmed it has an interest in negotiating with Washington, Ernesto Londoño writes in the Washington Post.
The Taliban said in a statement that it and the United States are the “two main sides,” who have a vested interest in finding a solution to Afghanistan’s problems. The statement made no mention of the Afghan government and did not say whether it wanted Kabul to play a role in talks.
The Taliban said talks would create “a better understanding with the internationals,” though it warned that the United States “would never reach these goals of theirs.”
The statement was the most credible evidence to date to substantiate reports that the wealthy emirate has agreed to let the militant group establish an office in Doha. U.S. officials held secret talks with Taliban representatives in Qatar and Germany last year, but those appear to have yielded little.
The United States has said publicly that it supports an “Afghan-led” reconciliation process with the Taliban. Previous U.S. talks with the group have included discussions about Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay and the possible release of an American soldier kidnapped by the Taliban.