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Taliban to set up office in Qatar to facilitate talks

(Xinhua)

08:23, January 04, 2012

KABUL, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Taliban militants fighting Afghan and NATO-led troops announced Tuesday they have agreed to have office in Qatar and hold dialogue for the negotiated settlement of Afghan crisis.

"We are ready to have a political office overseas and in this regard we have reached preliminary understanding with Qatar and other relevant sites," the outfit said in a statement sent to media.

It said that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the name of the ousted Taliban regime) has also demanded the release of its prisoners from U.S. detention center in Guantanamo.

Several Taliban key leaders and commanders are said to have been held in the Guantanamo prison.

Taliban in the statement also pointed out that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the United States of America are the two sides involved in Afghanistan issue over the past 10 years.

The Afghan government-backed peace body -- High Council for Peace, according to media reports, has proposed the release of key Taliban leaders including Mullah Khairullah and Mullah Fazal from Guantanamo prison as sign of good will gesture to accelerate peace talks with the Taliban.

Taliban had in the past repeatedly rejected Afghan government's offers for talks, saying there will no dialogue in the presence of foreign forces in the country.

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