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Experts 'not surprised' by Taliban's decision to pull out of Qatar peace talks with US

March 16, 2012 - Islamabad

Experts are not surprised by Taliban's decision to pull out of talks with the United States as a part of the Qatar initiative.

"It was inevitable ... if you work in isolation such initiatives are bound to fail," the Express Tribune quoted a security official, as saying.

"We don't mind if the office is set up in Qatar, Saudi Arabia or any other country. Our main concern is that all stakeholders must be on board," the official added, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

It was believed that the US attempted to ignore both Pakistan and Afghanistan when it began secret negotiations with the Taliban.

While Afghan President Hamid Karzai had publicly criticised the move, Pakistan chose to remain silent over the setting up of a Taliban political office in Qatar.

Security analyst and former Federally Administered Tribal Areas Brigadier (retd) Mahmood Shah said that even though Pakistan was not happy with the US' 'solo flight', it did not attempt to sabotage the initiative.

"In fact Pakistan has even allowed Taliban leaders to travel to Qatar for talks," he added.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar had earlier told Kabul to take the lead in any efforts aimed at reaching out to the Taliban, but insisted that it would not block any other initiatives.

Many experts said that the Qatar initiative aimed at achieving limited gains, but very few expected the process to fail at an early stage.

"Taliban agreed to talk to the Americans with an aim that they should be recognised as a force in Afghanistan. The talks failed earlier than expected," Shah said.


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