Pakistan welcomes Afghan Taliban Qatar office

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 10:11:20 by

Pakistan welcomes the opening of an Afghan Taliban office in Qatar for the purpose of bringing peace to Afghanistan, the Foreign Ministry has said.

Taliban Tuesday opened a political office in the Qatari capital, Doha, to help start talks on ending the 12-year-old conflict. Top Taliban negotiators said they wanted a political solution that would bring about a just government and end foreign occupation.

Senior White House officials have said the US will engage in direct negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar next week, aimed at achieving peace in Afghanistan.

“Pakistan welcomes the announcement of the opening of a Taliban office and the start of direct peace talks between the US and the Taliban,” the Pakistan Foreign Ministry has said.

“Pakistan has long called for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the Afghan conflict. It has repeatedly urged an early end to the war in order to reestablish peace and security in the region,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement late Tuesday.

He said Pakistan has played a constructive and positive role in helping accomplish this important milestone in support of a peace process for Afghanistan.

“Pakistan is ready to continue to facilitate the process to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan in accordance with the wishes of the Afghan people,” the spokesman said.

Suhail Shaheen, Taliban spokesman and a member of the Doha political office, told Al-Jazeera television in Doha that the armed group will continue to attack US targets in Afghanistan, but will simultaneously seek to end the conflict by pursuing peace talks.

He said there was no ceasefire with the US and its allies and that the Taliban “simultaneously follows political and military options”.

US President Barack Obama said the opening of the Taliban office was an important first step towards reconciliation between the Taliban and Afghanistan’s government.


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