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Karzai plans to hold peace talks with Taliban in Saudi Arabia

Kabul, Mon, 30 Jan 2012 ANI

Kabul, Jan 30 (ANI): Afghan President Hamid Karzai has planned to meet with the Taliban in Saudi Arabia in an attempt to restart peace talks.


Western and Afghan officials said that the landmark meeting will take place in the coming weeks and before the Taliban has opened a political office in Qatar.


According to The Telegraph, a number of Taliban officials have already arrived in Qatar.


The delegation includes Sher Mohammad Stanakzai, the Taliban's former deputy foreign minister, Shabudin Dilawari, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and Tayeb Agha, a close aide of Taliban leader Mullah Omar.


However, details for the establishment of a permanent office have still to be finalised.


While the Afghan government has agreed to a Taliban office in Qatar where envoys could meet, it had earlier said it would prefer Saudi Arabia or Turkey to host it, the paper reports.


"Even if the Taliban office is established in Qatar, we will obviously pursue other efforts in the region, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey," a senior Afghan government official told The BBC.


"Saudi Arabia has played an important role in the past. We value that and look forward to continued support and contact with Saudi Arabia in continuing the peace process," the official added.


Until now the Taliban has refused to hold talks with Kabul after labeling Karzai a foreign stooge.


The insurgent group has so far insisted they would only talk to the US and other allies of the Kabul government. (ANI)


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