- Greenpeace video warns that climate change is wrecking Santa’s home
- Herman Cain profiled in ‘Political Power’ comic book
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
- Fire departments fear Obamacare will gut volunteer ranks
- Rep. Alan Grayson loses $18M in stock scheme
- Christmas secularists get 6-foot beer-can Festivus pole at Florida Statehouse
- George Zimmerman’s girlfriend flips on assault: Let ‘my boyfriend’ go
- Lululemon Athletica chairman quits after firestorm over his fat-thighs comment
- CBS’ beleaguered Lara Logan gets a cheerleader — Dan Rather
- Jesus tops list as most significant figure in history; Mohammed at 4th
French defense minister backs talks with Taliban
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN—France’s defense minister on Sunday backed U.S. efforts to open peace talks with the Taliban, saying a proposed Taliban liaison office outside Afghanistan would provide a venue for those within the radical Islamic movement who are willing to explain their positions.
The idea of opening a Taliban political office in Doha, the capital of the Gulf nation of Qatar, has become the central element of efforts to draw the insurgent movement into peace talks and end more than a decade of war.
Mr. Karzai “explained the reasons … for Doha as a venue for meetings where the Taliban who wish to do so can express themselves and meet with Afghans or members of the coalition who wish to talk to them,” Mr. Longuet said.
“It seems that there is a part among the forces fighting against the [government], there is a will to explain themselves, to be understood. We should never close that door.”
Last week, a senior U.S. official told the Associated Press that Washington plans to continue a series of meetings with Taliban representatives in Europe and the Persian Gulf region this year.
The U.S. outreach this year had progressed to the point that there was active discussion of two steps the Taliban seeks as precursors to negotiations, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Trust-building measures under discussion involve setting up a Taliban headquarters office and the release from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of five Afghan prisoners believed to be affiliated with the Taliban.
Mr. Longuet said he was satisfied with the improving performance of the Afghan security forces and the pace of the transfer of responsibility for security to them.
NATO and the Afghan government expect the transition to be complete by 2014, when coalition troops are due to end their combat role.
Meanwhile, the death on Saturday of a NATO service member in a noncombat incident brought to 544 the number of NATO troops who died in Afghanistan in 2011. A NATO statement provided no further details.
The yearly total for 2011 is considerably lower than for 2010, when more than 700 troops died.
But the numbers of wounded have remained consistently high, dipping only slightly from last year’s total of more than 5,000 service members. And despite the drop in the numbers of deaths, 2011 has been the second-deadliest for NATO troops in the 10-year war.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Nevada rescuers frenzied to find 4 kids, 2 adults lost in snow
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama eulogizes Mandela, calls him 'the last great liberator'
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- EDITORIAL: Colorado ruling takes the cake
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
The pursuit of all that is joyous in travelling the globe is the essence of The Good Life, whether its Hawaii or the South of France.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow