US `outraged` over how the Taliban office opened: Envoy

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 00:29

Kabul: US envoy James Dobbins on Monday said Washington was outraged at how the Taliban opened an office in Qatar that was intended as a first step towards a peace deal in Afghanistan.
President Hamid Karzai reacted furiously to the office being styled as a Taliban government-in-exile under the rebels` white flag and using the name of the "Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan" from their hardline 1996-2001 regime.

The flag and the name were the focus of a diplomatic bust-up that derailed an early stage of efforts to foster a peace deal as the US-led NATO combat mission winds down 12 years after the Taliban were ousted after the 9/11 attacks.

"We contacted the government of Qatar, we protested and we asked them to take corrective measures and they took them," Dobbins told reporters in Kabul.

"We were outraged ourselves because it was inconsistent with the assurances we had been given and the assurances we had given... We thought the Afghan reaction was both entirely predictable and entirely justified.

"The use of the Islamic Emirate title... (and) the symbols, signs and nomenclature were incompatible with what had been understood to be the arrangement.`

Dobbins, the US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, spoke to reporters after meeting with Karzai in talks that he described as "very positive".

The Afghan government, which has said it is still committed to the peace process, insists the Taliban`s Qatar office must only be used for direct negotiations with Karzai`s appointed negotiators.


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First Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 00:29

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