US-Taliban Peace Talks Could Resume Within Weeks

Hamid Karzai just needs to give the OK
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2012 7:18 AM CST
Updated Jan 12, 2012 7:52 AM CST
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a joint news conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, unseen, at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

(Newser) – Peace talks between the US and the Taliban could resume within weeks, just as soon as Afghan President Hamid Karzai gives the go-ahead. The last tentative deal, which involved transferring five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay into Afghan custody, fell apart in December because Karzai would not cooperate, the Washington Post notes. A senior US diplomat is set to meet with Karzai next week.

One part of the deal involves a Taliban office being opened in Qatar. That country's prime minister acknowledged support for the plan for the first time yesterday, following a meeting with Hillary Clinton. One problem: The US says the talks must be led by Afghanistan, but the Taliban would rather sit down with the US. "Our job is to see if we can break through that door," says one official. Meanwhile, a video allegedly showing US Marines urinating on Taliban corpses threatened to complicate peace efforts, but the Taliban says it will not affect the preliminary talks, Reuters reports.

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