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Thursday, January 26

What's wrong with the following sentence?

January 24, 2012:
The opening of a Taliban office in the Gulf Arab nation of Qatar is contingent on the renunciation of international terror and the backing of a peace process to end the Afghan conflict, an American diplomat said Tuesday.
From a January 12, 2012 al Jazeera report (remember that Doha, Qatar, is AJ's home base and that the media organization was the brainchild of the Emir of Qatar); watch carefully don't blink:
US officials are believed to have held a series of secret meetings with the Taliban in Germany and Qatar since 2010, but those talks had to be suspended last December after Karzai objected to the process.

Karzai has been less enthusiastic towards any arrangement that would lead to the Taliban sharing power and last month recalled Afghanistan's ambassador to Qatar over reports that the group had opened an office in Doha.
In other words the office is open; it's just that there hasn't been a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Now to a report, dated January 26, 2012 from the Islamabad-based Pakistan Observer:
Three “moderate” Taliban leaders are proceeding ahead to open a “Liaison Office” in Doha, Qatar within next few days but the move is yet to be backed by Taliban top Leader Mullah Omar and his close associates.

Although the new “Embassy” will be named as Political Office for the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” but it was not clear if the top Afghan Taliban leadership will endorse the mission’s objectives.

According to reliable sources two former Taliban officials, Agha Tayeb and Mullah Muhammad Zaeef is being backed by two Afghan diplomats Shahabuddin Dilawar and Suhail Shaheen are behind the new move seen as an attempt to pave the way for a negotiated deal.

Hard-line Taliban leaders have opposed the idea to open an office in Qatar where U.S. Central Command is also headquartered and had tacitly backed the move to open such a Liaison Office in Ankara. Turkey had already offered to play a role of mediation to ease confrontation in Afghanistan.
Turkey would be a logical choice but Obama is not interested in any logic that pertains to the Afghan War, as Brahma Chellaney's discussion made clear. But the point is that the "moderate" Taliban involved with setting up the Doha office are not involved with international terrorism and never have been. So it's kind of silly for the Obama administration to claim they're demanding that the Taliban they've been clowning around with since 2010 must renounce international terrorism before they can serve cucumber sandwiches at the office.

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