Afghanistan officials will open a U.S.-backed office in the Gulf nation of Qatar as early as Tuesday to facilitate peace talks with the Taliban, according to three senior administration officials.
The announcement comes as President Hamid Karzai announced on Tuesday that Afghan security forces have taken the lead from NATO. The White House officials spoke on the condition they not be identified because the government of Qatar has yet to announce the official opening of the office in the capital of Doha.
President Obama briefed fellow Group of Eight leaders about the development on Monday night during their summit in Northern Ireland. It will be the first time that the U.S. will have direct talks with the Taliban since the start of the war.
Taliban officials in Doha are expected to release a statement later on Tuesday that will underscore that they disapprove of using Afghan soil to plan attacks threatening other countries as well voicing their support for the peace process, according to one administration official. . .