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U.S. Regional Envoy To Visit Afghanistan, Qatar Next Week

U.S. special regional envoy Marc Grossman
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that special regional envoy Marc Grossman would visit Afghanistan next week.

Clinton said that Grossman will “continue our consultations with the Afghans and also to go to Qatar to continue our consultations with our partners.”

The Taliban announced last week that it wanted to set up a political office in Qatar in a move seen as a precursor to talks with the United States.

Washington has consistently said that any talks with the Taliban could only take place with the agreement of, and eventually should be led by, the Afghan government.

Grossman is also expected to visit key regional players next week, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid sent an e-mail statement that said while the group supports peace talks, its fighters would continue military operations against foreign forces in Afghanistan and the "stooge Kabul administration."

The statement said the Taliban had "increased political efforts" to bring about peace in Afghanistan but that did not mean "surrender from jihad" or "acceptance of the constitution" of the current Afghan government.

compiled from agency reports