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Afghanistan Recalls Ambassador From Qatar

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government is reportedly angry over Qatar's failure to consult Kabul over the opening of a Taliban office.

Afghanistan says it is recalling its ambassador to Qatar following reports that the Taliban will open an office in the Persian Gulf state.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry issued a statement on December 14 saying that Kabul had decided to recall Khalid Ahmad Zakaria from Doha for "consultations."

"The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has had brotherly relations with the government of Qatar, which it thanks for its cooperation on the reconstruction of Afghanistan," the ministry's official statement said.

"But regarding recent developments in Afghanistan and in the region, including Afghanistan's relations with Qatar, the Afghan government has decided to recall its ambassador Khaled Ahmad Zekerya from Doha for the purpose of some consultations," it added.

The United States and Germany reportedly negotiated the deal with the group.

An Afghan government official, speaking to RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan on condition of anonymity, said that while Kabul approved of the move to establish the Taliban office, it was withdrawing its ambassador in protest at not being consulted.

A U.S. State Department official told RFE/RL that the department had seen the press reports, but had no comment on the matter.

The move is thought to be aimed at allowing the West to begin formal peace talks with the militant group and ending the nearly decade-long war in Afghanistan.

The office would be the first internationally recognized representation for the Taliban -- which is reportedly calling itself the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan -- since it was ousted from power by the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

A Kabul government official told Reuters that the Afghan government was aware that Qatar has held talks with the United States and Germany on allowing a Taliban office to open, and supported the move.

But he told the news agency, "The ambassador has been recalled as a protest over why they did not allow the Afghan government into these talks while there are official diplomatic relations between the two countries."

He added that the opening of such an office "should not be seen as a concession" to the Taliban.

with agency reports.