Taleban reject claims they may cancel Qatar talks
KABUL (AFP) - The Taleban on Sunday rejected reports that they may cancel peace talks with the US and the Afghan governments over criticism of the insurgents' office that opened in Qatar last week.
A Taleban spokesman in Afghanistan rejected a New York Times story published on Saturday that quoted an unnamed rebel official saying the insurgents were determined to keep the office's sign and flag that triggered fury in Kabul.
The sign used the formal name of "Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan" from the rebels' 1996-2001 government, and the white Taleban flag was seen by many Afghans as a provocative reminder of the cruelties of Taleban rule.
The opening of the Qatar office was intended as a first step towards a peace deal as the US-led NATO combat mission ends next year, but the Afghan government accused the rebels of posing as a government-in-exile.