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Taleban reject claims they may cancel Qatar talks

Published on Jun 23, 2013 4:51 PM
A general view of the Taleban Afghanistan Political Office in Doha on June 18, 2013. The Afghan Taleban opened the office in Qatar to help restart talks on ending the 12-year-old war, saying it wanted a political solution that would bring about a just government and end foreign occupation. Taleban representative Muhammad Naeem told a news conference at the office in the capital Doha that the Islamist insurgency wanted good relations with Afghanistan's neighbouring countries. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

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.

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