Row over Taliban flag in Doha hinders Afghan peace talks

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Doha, June 20: A dispute over the status of a flag at the Taliban's newly opened office here hindered efforts to start Afghan peace talks there. The Taliban removed the flag after the Qataris raised an objection but hoisted it later on a smaller flagpole, reports said.

Kabul expressed its displeasure at the handling of the peace talks. The USA, on the other hand, has been seeking talks for a long time but the Hamid Karzai regime alleged that the initiative involved "breach of principles". Kabul accused Washington of not acting in the right spirit.

The Afghan foreign ministry said that the way in which the Taliban office was set up clearly violated the principles and terms agreed between Afghanistan and the USA.

US Secretary of State John Kerry told Karzai that the flag and a nameplate would be removed but it wasn't enough to pacify the Afghan officials.

Afghan officials said the US assured them and members of Afghanistan's High Peace Council that the Taliban's office in Doha was just a venue to begin the peace talks but the Taliban made it look like a sort of diplomatic mission.

On Wednesday, President Karzai said they would boycott the Qatar talks if the foreign powers didn't allow the process to be run by the Afghan themselves. He also suspended security talks with the US on the latter's presence in the war-ravaged country after the Nato pulls out next year.

OneIndia News

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