January 26, 2012

Talks With Taliban a Long Way Off, American Envoy Says

KABUL, Afghanistan — No peace talks with the Taliban this week: That was the short message on Sunday from the American envoy charged with starting those negotiations.

Stopping here in Kabul this weekend on his way to Qatar, where the insurgents are in the process of opening an office, the envoy, Marc Grossman, implicitly rejected reports that he planned to begin negotiations there this week. He made it clear that there was a long way to go.

Qatar still needs to talk to the Afghans about the proposed Taliban office, he said, and the United States needs to talk to Pakistan, which rebuffed Mr. Grossman’s plans to visit last week. Perhaps most telling, the Taliban still needs to clarify whether they actually intend to engage in peace talks, he said.

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