Afghan President Hamid Karzai is in Qatar to hold discussions on the possible opening of a Taliban office in the Persian Gulf state for peace negotiations.
“We will discuss the peace process, of course, and the opening of an office for the Taliban in Qatar, ” presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi told AFP on Saturday before Karzai left Kabul for Doha.“If we want to have talks to bring peace to Afghanistan, the main side must be the Afghan government's representatives -- the High Peace Council, which has members from all the country's ethnic and political backgrounds,” Faizi added. A statement from Karzai's office said he was accompanied on the two-day state visit by Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul and High Peace Council Chairman Salahuddin Rabbani. Last year, the Taliban announced reaching a preliminary agreement with Qatar to open a liaison office in the Arab state. The Afghan president had previously accused foreign powers of “plotting” against the peace process in the war-wracked country. Karzai, without pointing at any particular country, said in February that he had told the US government during a recent visit to Washington that “no foreign party must try to take the Afghan peace process in its hand.” The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext of fighting terrorism. The invasion removed the Taliban from power, but the country remains insecure despite the presence of tens of thousands of US-led forces there.