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Karzai Claims Qatar Hosting US-Taliban Talks | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks at a gathering of women to mark International Women’s Day, in Kabul on March 10, 2013. (AFP)


Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks at a gathering of women to mark International Women's Day, in Kabul on March 10, 2013. (AFP)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks at a gathering of women to mark International Women’s Day, in Kabul on March 10, 2013. (AFP)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—A US official has denied Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s statement that senior US and Taliban leaders have resumed their negotiations suspended a year ago in Qatar.

“Senior leaders of the Taliban and the Americans are engaged in talks in the Gulf state on a daily basis,” Karzai told a gathering to mark International Women’s Day.

However, both the US government and the Taliban have rejected Karzai’s claim.

“This is simply incorrect,” a U.S. official, who declined to be identified, told the AFP when asked about Karzai’s remarks. “We continue to support an Afghan-led process of political reconciliation.”

The Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid, also denied that negotiations with the United States had resumed and said no progress had been made since they were suspended.

“The Taliban strongly rejects Karzai’s comments,” he said.

Karzai, who offered no proof of the talks and who has a record of making inflammatory speeches, said the attacks enabled the US-led military force to justify its presence in Afghanistan.
The Kabul government has been pushing hard to get the Taliban to the negotiating table before most U.S.-led NATO combat troops withdraw by the end of 2014.

Afghan officials have not held direct talks with the militants, who were toppled in 2001 and have proven resilient after more than a decade of war with Western forces.

U.S. diplomats have been seeking to broaden exploratory talks with the Taliban that began clandestinely in Germany in late 2010 after the Taliban offered to open a representative office in Qatar.