Afghan president says Taliban can not open office in Qatar
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Friday that Taliban can not open office in Qatar and his government will decide the venue for any talks with the Taliban.
The remarks came amid reports that Taliban have opened political office in the Gulf state and have held exploratory talks with the U.S. officials. A Taliban spokesman said last week that the office in Qatar has been opened on their suggestion, Xinhua reported.
President Karzai told Pakistani TV anchors and columnists at a breakfast interaction that the United States can not hold talks with the Taliban on behalf of the Afghan government.
"We will hold talks with the Taliban either in Saudi Arabia or Turkey," the Pakistani TV channels quoted Afghan President as saying.
Karzai told an American newspaper ahead of his Pakistan's visit on Thursday that his government has joined talks with the Taliban.
Taliban quickly rejected Karzai's claim and a Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that Taliban representatives have neither held talks with the "powerless" Kabul administration anywhere nor has had any intention so far to hold negotiations with Karzai's administration.
During the Friday morning breakfast meeting with the local media, the Afghan President Karzai also called the Pakistani government to reopen supply line for the NATO forces in Afghanistan, which has been closed following an attack by the NATO troops on two Pakistani border check posts in Nov. 26, 2011, which killed 24 Pakistani troops and wounded a dozen others.
Pakistan Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar said this week that the NATO has been allowed to resume supply via Pakistani airspace of perishable items.
The Pakistani government had been insisting that the decision to restore the NATO supply will be taken by the parliament, but the parliament has not yet started debate on the issue.
The opposition parties in Pakistan criticized the government's decision to restore the NATO supplies without discussing the issue in the parliament.
Karzai said that the restoration of supply to NATO forces will benefit Afghanistan and Pakistan.
When asked about Pakistan's offer to impart training to Afghan National Army, the Afghan President was quoted as saying that his government has no objection to any such training.
The Afghan government has in the past rejected Pakistan's offer to train Afghan armed forces and President Karzai himself insisted on few occasions that Afghans will not repeat the former Soviet- era mistake of sending troops to neighbouring countries for training.