Qatar Mediating US-Taliban Talks
A Pakistani weekly reports that Qatar is mediating talks between the US and the Taliban, so the Obama administration can make an honorable exit.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 7/13/2011, 8:15 PM / Last Update: 7/14/2011, 2:45 AM
Qatar is mediating talks between the Taliban and the United States, the Pakistani weekly Nida-i-Millat has reported.
The talks come as US President Barack Obama faces a self-imposed deadline to draw-down troop counts in Afghanistan and end the US military presence in Iraq.
Both pull-back initiatives have become increasinly problematic as violence continues unabated in both countries making it difficult for Obama to claim the US has achieved its goals.
According to Nida-i-Millat, Qatar is also playing a role for conciliation between the Taliban and the Karzai government.
The paper did not identify the Arab sources it quoted.
Tayyab Agha, the head of the political wing of the Taliban, has been meeting with the Qatar authorities, and is now holding talks in Germany to advance the process started in Doha. His efforts would culminate in the Second Bonn Conference to be held in December, the report said.
The first Bonn Conference was held before the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. At the time, the US was trying to replace the Taliban government with the Northern Alliance.
The purpose of the latest talks is to find an honourable exit for the US from Afghanistan, the weekly said in its Urdu report, republished in English by Pakistani daily The Nation this week.
A secret meeting was held last week between a Qatari official and a representative of the Karzai government, the report said.
Omar Daudzai, Afghanistan's ambassador to Pakistan, represented the Kabul authorities.