Afghan to talk with Taliban in Qatar: Karzai



Kabul: Some members of Afghan High Peace Council will travel to the Gulf state of Qatar to hold formal peace talks with the Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday.

"Members of peace council will go to Qatar to initiate peace talks with the Taliban," Karzai told a joint press conference with the visiting NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Earlier on Tuesday, Afghan local media reported that the Taliban had opened a political office in Qatar earlier in the day.

"We initially supported the opening of Taliban office in Qatar. But Afghanistan wants the peace talks to take place inside Afghanistan ," the Afghan leader said.

However, he did not give a date for the proposed meeting.

The 70-member of the peace council leading by Salaudin Rabbani, son of former Council Chairman Burhanuddin Rabbani who was killed in an attack in Kabul in 2011, was set up by the government in summer 2010 to initiate peace talks with the Taliban.

Karzai and other leaders have repeatedly offered peace talks with the Taliban. However, the insurgent group has categorically rejected the offer, saying there will be no talks until foreign troops leave the country.

Earlier on Tuesday, Karzai and Rasmussen attended a ceremony held in a military university in west of Kabul during which Karzai announced that the Afghan national forces will lead all military operations in the country from June 19.

ANI