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Peace progress? Qatar gives Taliban an office address

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In what could be one of the most significant steps toward a peace deal with the Taliban yet, the insurgent group announced on Tuesday that it had reached a preliminary agreement with the Qatari government to open a political office there.

Agreeing to let the Taliban have an overseas office is meant to be an act of good faith by the United States, NATO, and the Afghan government to show the Taliban that they’re serious about talks.

As the Monitor reported last week, Western and Afghan officials agreed to support such an office in Qatar. Talks have been a primary focus for the past year, but a physical address for the Taliban would mean an unprecedented, clear channel of communication that could facilitate substantive negotiations.

“We are now ready to have an office abroad for the talks with the internationals,” wrote the Taliban in an official statement released on Tuesday. “The stance of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan [the Taliban] from the beginning has been that there should be an end to this occupation and Afghans should be left to make an Islamic government in the country which should not be harmful for anyone.” 

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