KABUL: Afghanistan will send representatives to Qatar soon to discuss peace talks with the Taliban, President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday.
“Afghanistan’s High Peace Council will travel to Qatar to discuss peace talks with the Taliban,” Karzai said while talking at a ceremony in Kabul in which the international military coalition marked its final handover of security to Afghan forces.
“We hope that our brothers the Taliban also understand that the process will move to our country soon,” Karzai said.
Karzai’s announcement was the first possible step forward in the peace process, which has struggled to achieve results despite many attempts, and is likely to be applauded by his Western backers.
There was no immediate comment from the Afghan Taliban.
The Afghan President said three principles had been created to guide the talks — that having begun in Qatar, they must then immediately be moved to Afghanistan, that they bring about an end to violence and that they must not become a tool for a “third country’s” exploitation of Afghanistan.
In early 2012, a team of envoys from the Taliban flew to Qatar to open talks with the US government. But the Taliban suspended the talks in March 2012, saying Washington was giving mixed signals on the nascent Afghan reconciliation process.