Kerry arrives in Qatar ahead of planned U.S. talks with representatives of the Taliban at a new political office they opened this week in Doha. The secretary himself was not expected to meet with the Taliban, but other U.S. officials are to sit down with members of the militant group in coming days. The discussions would be the first U.S.-Taliban talks in nearly 1 1/2 years.
The way the Taliban unveiled their new political office, however, angered Afghan President Hamid Karzai. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, the Taliban hoisted their flag and a banner emblazoned with “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” That was the name the Taliban used when they were in power more than a decade ago and made it appear that the office was an embassy and rival to the Afghan government.
The U.S. said it was disappointed with the rollout, which the administration believes was a Taliban game of one-upmanship...More like a big "screw you," no? And, BTW, for the jihadis it's hardly "a game."
Update: Here's how it looks to an observer from Pakistan:
Time was on the side of the Taliban, as it always is on the side of any force engaged in irregular warfare. And the Pakistan Army and a confused nation, their thinking split down the middle, have missed the bus. For us that is the significance of the Taliban gaining, at long last, virtual American diplomatic recognition – which is what this latest development amounts to.A dagger that looks like a really big screw.
A triumph for Mullah Omar and a problem for us, because Mullah Omar’s resurgent emirate, waiting patiently for the Americans to depart, now extends, like a dagger, into Pakistan – in the form of Hakeemullah’s Waziristan.
Update: The Taliban a great place to work--a New Yorker spoof:
DOHA, QATAR (The Borowitz Report)—In the latest publicity coup for the Afghan insurgent group, the Taliban today finished first in a newly released survey of the “Best Places to Work 2013.”
For the Taliban, who had just opened their office in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday, the honor was “totally unexpected and incredibly humbling,” a spokesman for the group said.
“This is the first office we’ve ever opened, so naturally we wanted it to be nice and all,” he said. “But to be named a better place to work than Apple and Google and the other amazing places on this list–whoa.”
Cited in the poll was the atmosphere at Taliban headquarters, which numerous employees described as “relaxed” and “fun.”
“People think that just because we observe Sharia law, we walk around with frowny faces all day,” the spokesman said. “The fact is, we have a lot of laughs here.”...
|"Fun" guys at the Doha H.O.