Taliban to Open Qatar Office for US Peace Talks
Talks eschew Hamid Karzai's Afganistan government
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2012 7:32 AM CST
In this Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011 photo, masked Pakistani Taliban militants take part in a training session in an area of Pakistan's tribal South Waziristan region along the Afghan border.   (AP Photo/Ishtiaq Mahsud)

(Newser) – The Taliban admitted publicly for the first time today that it is in the midst of peace talks with the US, announcing that it would open a “political office” in Qatar to conduct them. The militant organization’s statement pointedly made no mention of the Kabul-based Afghan government, however, saying that it and the US are the “two main sides” looking for a solution, the Washington Post reports.

The US has previously said it supports an “Afghan-led” deal, though there had been reports of secret—and apparently fruitless—US/Taliban talks last year. The Taliban says these new official talks will create “a better understanding” between the two, though it cautioned that the US will “never reach these goals of theirs.” Click for previous peace talk reports.