Urdu Daily Reports On Qatar's Intervention To Revive The Failing U.S.-Taliban Talks; Qatari Foreign Minister Joins Talks In Doha

February 14, 2020

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On February 11, 2020, the New York Times reported that U.S. President Donald Trump "has conditionally approved a peace deal with the Taliban that would withdraw the last American troops from the country, potentially beginning the end of America's longest war."[1]

The report continued: "But the deal will only be signed if the Taliban prove their commitment to a durable reduction of violence over a test period of about seven days later this month [...] If the Taliban do end hostilities and a deal is signed, the United States would then begin a gradual withdrawal of American troops, and direct negotiations would start between the Taliban and Afghan leaders over the future of their country."[2]

The New York Times further quoted "a senior diplomat in Washington" as describing "the deal as 95 percent agreed to in principle, but that the possibility of a final agreement will become clearer in a matter of couple weeks."[3]

Now, it emerges that the Qatari government – which has a deep, long-standing relationship with jihadi organizations worldwide – may have intervened to secure the deal between the U.S. and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban organization) which have held over 11 rounds of discussions in Doha, Qatar. MEMRI has previously reported on Qatar's role in the 9/11 attacks and its hosting of jihadi commanders.[4]

The Qatari government, which is hosting the Doha talks, intervened to revive the U.S.-Taliban talks. According to a February 11, 2020 report in Roznama Ummat, a pro-Taliban Pakistani daily, "Effort is being made by Qatar that the Taliban further increase the 10-day reduction in violence period [as proposed in the U.S.-Taliban deal which is yet to be signed]. America was demanding an extension in the Taliban's offer of the 10-day reduction in violence period which had led to a deadlock in the talks."[5]

"However, yesterday, the talks began again under the Qatari mediation," the pro-Taliban daily said in its report, adding that when the U.S. diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad, who is leading the U.S. delegation at the talks in Doha, met with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund, the deputy emir of the jihadi group Islamic Emirate, Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Aal Thani, "was present on this occasion."[6]

"Deadlock was being seen in the talks… However, the possibilities for the [U.S.-Taliban] deal have brightened due to the presence of the Qatari foreign minister," the Roznama Ummat noted in its report titled as "In Doha, Once Again The Taliban-American Talks, Qatar Too Participates."[7] "Discussions were also held about the mechanism for the reduction in violence according to the Taliban's offer and the signing of the deal in the presence of Qatari officials," the Urdu daily added.[8]


[1] The New York Times (U.S.), February 11, 2020.

[2] The New York Times (U.S.), February 11, 2020.

[3] The New York Times (U.S.), February 11, 2020.

[4] MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1485 Qatar's Role In 9/11 And Hosting Jihadi Commanders; Afghan Taliban's Hideouts Move To Safe Haven Of Doha, November 19, 2019; MEMRI Daily Brief No. 197 The US-Taliban Negotiations: A Deadly Qatari Trap, September 1, 2019.

[5] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), February 11, 2020.

[6] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), February 11, 2020.

[7] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), February 11, 2020.

[8] Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), February 11, 2020.

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