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Afghan Peace Council to Qatar to Probe Taliban Office

A member of the Afghan Peace Council says the peace-making body will send a delegation to Qatar to get more information about a planned Taliban office in the Arab country.

The Taliban said last week that it has reached an initial agreement to set up its first political office in Qatar, saying such a move would help the Afghan insurgent group "reach an understanding with the international community."

A senior member of the Afghan Peace Council, Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, told reporters on Monday that members of the council will travel to the Gulf state in the coming days to get more details about the proposed Taliban office and negotiations with the group.

Qasimyar reiterated that the peace process must be led by the Afghan government.

The Taliban's statement last week made no mention of the Afghan government, and instead focused on negotiating with the United States for the release of Taliban prisoners held in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has welcomed any such negotiations between the Taliban and the United States and also the opening of a Taliban office in Qatar.

U.S. officials said last week the Taliban move could play a positive role in ending the war in Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.