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News - Afghanistan

Afghanistan will oppose Taliban's Qatar political office if the insurgents refuse to talk to the government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday.

A new draft plan by the Afghan government sets three preconditions for agreeing to the office. The plan asks the Taliban to accept that they will negotiate with the government, clearly identify their representatives and give the Afghan government the right to close down the office when it deems necessary.

"Unless the Taliban accept they'll negotiate with the government, there will be no office for them. It is dangerous to open an office when it is not clear whom we are negotiating with," Foreign Minister Zalmai Rasoul said.

He added that the draft plan aims to pave the way for peace negotiations and is not a recognition of the Taliban.

The political opposition has been generally receptive to peace talks with the Taliban. Several of the main political parties participated in the face-to-face talks in Paris last December.

But civil society is sounding a note of caution about any hasty settlement arising from the talks, asking for justice for victims of Taliban's crimes to be a prominent component in the talks.

"The important thing in peace negotiations is a mechanism for justice. Otherwise, a just peace cannot be attained," said Mousa Mahmoudi, Executive Director of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

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