Report: Taliban members to attend peace group’s conference in Qatar

Former Taliban office in Doha.

Salman Siddiqui/Twitter

Former Taliban office in Doha.

Representatives of the Taliban’s “political office” in Qatar will attend a conference here this weekend about resolving the conflict in Afghanistan.

In a statement on Friday, the group said it was invited to participate by the Pugwash Council, a Nobel peace-prize winning group that works internationally to resolve various conflicts.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Taliban said that it would use the conference to “relay the legal demands of our nation and our just policy to the world directly.”

Qatar is not involved in any formal talks to resolve the conflict between the Taliban and the Afghan government, but it does appear to have an open channel with the group.

Qatar's Emir

Georgetown University

Qatar’s Emir

Earlier this month, Canada thanked the Emir for negotiating the release of a Toronto man kidnapped and held in Afghanistan for more than five years.

Members of the Taliban have lived in Qatar for several years and briefly opened a political office in Dafna in 2013, but closed it less than a week later.

Informal talks

The Pugwash Council also held a session in Qatar on the same subject last May.

However, at that meeting both Taliban officials and important government figures attended, though all in an informal capacity.

During this weekend’s session, no members of the Afghan government are expected to be present, AP reports.

The WSJ added that President Ashraf Ghani’s administration sees such events as a distraction from formal negotiations and that the conference would give the Taliban “undue legitimacy.”

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