Gulbudin Hekmatyar opposes closure of Taliban office in Qatar

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Head of Afghanistan's Islamic Party opposed closure of Taliban's office in Doha, noting that it is against the interests of the country and damages the ongoing peace process in the war-torn region.

Gulbudin Hekmatyar said that closure of Taliban office in Doha will not benefit Afghanistan.

“Taliban’s political office in Qatar is the best address to establish communication with Taliban for peace talks,” he noted.

Hekmatyar advised Afghan Taliban to return to negotiation table, noting that “the ongoing war has no benefit and it is better for this group to enter talks.”

In reaction to reports about closure of Taliban office in Doha, the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejected the reports and called them ‘rumors’.

In February, Ghani told the Qatari foreign minister during a security conference in Munich that the Taliban office should be closed.

Meanwhile, the US President Donald Trump has recently called on Afghan president for the closure of Taliban office. Ghani is said to be considering the proposal.

According to UK’s Guardian newspaper report, Trump is said to be hostile to the maintenance of the Taliban office for several reasons. He portrays it as a failed initiative of his predecessor that had not led to the peace negotiations Barack Obama had hoped for.

The Taliban’s political commission established a permanent presence in Doha in 2011, soon after making its first secret contacts with the US in Germany.

An estimated 36 Taliban leaders are stationed in Doha, in what the group calls its political office.

Both the Saudi and Emirati monarchies have called for the closure of this office since its establishment in 2011.

The Guardian reported that a request to close the office would have to be formally initiated by Kabul but that the ultimate decision lies with the Qatari government.

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