Karzai accepts Taliban office in Qatar

Afghan president says he will accept the opening of a Taliban office in the Gulf for the purpose of holding peace talks.

    Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has said he will accept the opening of a Taliban office in Qatar for the purpose of holding peace talks.

    If the US insists that the armed group establish a liaison office in Qatar, "we are agreed", Karzai said in a presidential statement on Tuesday.

    Earlier this month, Kabul recalled its ambassador to Qatar for consultations over reports that the Taliban was planning to open an office in the Gulf state.

    But as the 2014 deadline for the US led forces to leave the country comes closer, there have been growing calls to engage with the group for a durable peace in the country. Some observers say a proper address for Taliban would help facilitate such talks.

    One complication to negotiations with the group is that many Afghans still view them with suspicion and say they should answer for their past crimes.

    The developments come as the tally of foreign soldiers killed in the country continues to climb. Three NATO service members were killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan, the international force said on Wednesday.

    A statement said that the deaths occurred on Tuesday, but provided no further details about the incident or the nationalities of the troops.

    The latest deaths bring December's toll of foreign troops killed in the country to 23, for a total of 539 deaths so far this year.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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