Talking With the Taliban
Posted on Jan 29, 2010
News coming out of Afghanistan claims that a United Nations envoy has held secret talks in Dubai with Taliban leaders to discuss peace terms. If confirmed, the meeting would be the first ever between the U.N. and senior Taliban members. —JCL
Taliban commanders held secret exploratory talks with a United Nations special envoy this month to discuss peace terms, it emerged tonight.
Regional commanders on the Taliban’s leadership council, the Quetta Shura, sought a meeting with the UN special representative in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, and it took place in Dubai on 8 January. “They requested a meeting to talk about talks. They want protection, to be able to come out in public. They don’t want to vanish into places like Bagram,” the Reuters news agency quoted a UN official as saying, referring to the Bagram detention centre at a US military base outside Kabul.
The Dubai meeting was confirmed to the Guardian by officials with knowledge of the encounter, but they said they could provide no further details.
It was the first such meeting between the UN and senior members of the Taliban. The fact that it took place suggests that peace talks have revived since exploratory contacts between emissaries of the Kabul government and the Taliban in Saudi Arabia last year broke down.