Afghan Taliban opens Qatar office, says seeks political solution

Slideshow ( 2 images )

DUBAI (Reuters) - The Afghan Taliban opened an office in Qatar on Tuesday to help restart talks on ending the 12-year-old war, saying it wanted a political solution that would bring about a just government and end foreign occupation.

Taliban representative Mohammed Naeem told a news conference at the office in the capital Doha that the Islamist insurgency wanted good relations with Afghanistan’s neighboring countries.

“We want to keep good relations with all of the world countries, in particular with our neighboring countries,” he said in remarks carried on Qatar’s al Jazeera television.

“But the Islamic emirate (Taliban) sees the independence of the nation from the current occupation as a national and religious obligation.”

In Washington, U.S. officials said the United States would meet the Taliban next week in talks in Doha aimed at achieving peace in Afghanistan but warned the process would likely be lengthy.

The United States would insist the Taliban break ties with al Qaeda, end violence and accept the Afghan constitution, including protection for women and minorities, they said.

Reporting by Yara Bayoumy and Amena Bakr, Writing by William Maclean; Editing by Janet Lawrence