U.S. President Barack Obama and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai have stressed the importance of Afghan-led reconciliation efforts, as a row over the Taliban office has derailed peace efforts in the country.
In their talks via video teleconference, the two leaders reaffirmed that an Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process is “the surest way” to end violence and ensure “lasting stability” in Afghanistan and the region, the White House said in a statement.
“And they reiterated their support for an office in Doha for the purpose of negotiations between the High Peace Council and authorized representatives of the Taliban,” said the statement.
The United States said last week that it planned to begin formal talks with the Taliban in the Qatari capital of Doha, which would be followed by talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
But Karzai was infuriated as the Taliban office used the name of “the Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan,” the same as the one chosen by the Taliban when it was in power from 1996-2001.
The Afghan leader also called off negotiations with Washington on a bilateral security agreement over U.S. military presence in the Asian nation beyond 2014, when most of U.S. and NATO troops are expected to leave following a 12-year bloody war.
U.S. officials were engaged in efforts to put on track the peace efforts.