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Afghanistan pulls ambassador after Qatar talks to Taliban

By Nick Paton Walsh, CNN
updated 1:17 PM EST, Wed December 14, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A senior Afghan official says Qatar has talked with the Afghan Taliban
  • The Taliban apparently wants to set up an office in Qatar

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghanistan has withdrawn its ambassador to Qatar for consultations after the Gulf state began talking to the Afghan Taliban about setting up a representative office there, a senior Afghan official said Wednesday.

"We have asked our ambassador to come for consultations, which has connections to the establishment of an address for the Taliban in Qatar. I confirm that talks are going on now, for the establishment of that address," said the official, who has direct knowledge of the decision but did not want to be identified in discussing sensitive diplomatic matters.

There have been persistent reports that the Afghan insurgency is seeking to establish an "address" or office from which it can negotiate a possible peace deal. But since the death of senior Afghan peace negotiator Burhannudin Rabbani, most observers and diplomats have said peace talks have all but ground to a halt.

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