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Afghan president welcomes Taliban decision to open office in Qatar

(Xinhua)

08:55, January 05, 2012

KABUL, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday welcomed Taliban's decision to open a liaison office in the Gulf state of Qatar to hold dialogue for the negotiated settlement of Afghan crisis peace talks, a statement issued by the Afghan presidential palace said.

"The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has welcomed the recent talks between the United States of America and the Taliban that led to a practice which will let Taliban to open an office in Qatar," said the statement.

"For liberation of Afghanistan from the war and neglect, plots, and to stop killing of innocent people here and to reach a durable peace and stability in the country Afghan government agreed that the Taliban could have the mentioned office in Qatar," it said.

Afghan Taliban in a statement released to media on Tuesday said that they have reached a preliminary deal with the Qatar to open a liaison office there.

However, a purported spokesman of the Taliban Zabiullah Mujhid in the statement said that the outfit will launch negotiation with the "international community", but not with the Afghan government.

"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.

It further noted 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.

It has merit to mention that the Taliban outfit had in the past repeatedly rejected Afghan government's offers for talks, saying there will be no dialogue in the presence of foreign forces in the country.

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