Monday, September 12, 2011

Obama endorses plans for Taliban to open Political HQ in Qatar

Is it just a coincidence that this story broke only after the President wrapped up his tributes to the victims of the 9/11 attacks on Sunday? Clearly, this latest piece of news isn't sitting too well with many of the families who lost loved ones on 9/11. Had this story broken earlier, Obama might have received a less cordial reception at the memorial ceremonies.

From the Times of London:
America has given its blessing for the Taliban to be brought in from the cold with a critical step towards reconciliation as the world paused to mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The Times has learnt that Washington has endorsed plans for the Islamist network to open political headquarters in the gulf state of Qatar by the end of the year.

The move has been devised so that the West can begin formal peace talks with the Taliban.

Hopes of an eventual truce came as President Obama and George Bush attended a memorial ceremony at Ground Zero, where relatives read the names of the 2,977 victims of the al-Qaeda attacks.
Reports of negotiations between the Obama administration and the Taliban, including a proposal by the Taliban to establish a political office in Qatar as a venue for formal negotiations, have been swirling for quite some time. [And, apparently, the talks had commenced even before Osama Bin Laden had been killed.]

The Washington Post reported in May:
The administration has accelerated direct talks with the Taliban, initiated several months ago, that U.S. officials say they hope will enable President Obama to report progress toward a settlement of the Afghanistan war when he announces troop withdrawals in July.

A senior Afghan official said a U.S. representative attended at least three meetings in Qatar and Germany, one as recently as “eight or nine days ago,” with a Taliban official considered close to Mohammad Omar, the group’s leader...

The Taliban... has proposed establishing a formal political office, with Qatar under consideration as a venue [for formal talks], according to U.S. officials...
Related Video: Obama excoriated Pakistan over Taliban talks - '08

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