Afghanistan to hold formal talks with Taliban in Qatar

June 18, 2013 11:15

Afghanistan will send representatives to Qatar soon to discuss peace with the Taliban, President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday, in a step towards reaching a brokered ceasefire in the 12-year-old war.

"Afghanistan's High Peace Council will travel to Qatar to discuss peace talks with the Taliban," Karzai said in Kabul, referring to the council he formed in late 2010 to pursue talks with the insurgents.The announcement is the first significant step forward in the peace process, which has struggled to achieve results despite years of attempts, and will be greeted with relief by Karzai's Western backers.

Karzai was talking at a ceremony in which the international military coalition marked its final handover of security to Afghan forces.

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