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    US verifies Taliban-Afghan govt talks in Qatar

    KARACHI (PAN): US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter has confirmed that peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government are ongoing in Qatar.

    During an interview with a private Pakistani TV channel on Sunday night, he said the success of the talks would be a victory for the government of President Hamid Karzai.

    It is for the first time that a US diplomat has confirmed parleys between the Afghan government and Taliban in Qatar, but Kabul has so far issued no comment on the issue.

    A trilateral meeting among Afghan, US and Pakistani military officials, which took place last week at the Torkham dry port, was important, Munter said.

    The ambassador told Express News they had discussed relations between Pakistan and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on the both sides of the Durand Line.

    But the dialogue process was suspended after Nov. 26, 2011 after NATO helicopters targeted two Pakistani security posts in the Mohmand tribal region, killing 24 soldiers and injuring more than a dozen others.

    “We want to ensure that such attacks as the Salala checkpoint strike are not repeated to strengthen cooperation between ISAF and Pakistani soldiers,” he added.

    Human rights violations in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province were a huge problem, Munter said, adding the issue necessitated talks with the Pakistan government.

    However, he explained, the US had no intention to do anything beyond that because it could destabilise Pakistan. He described a recentl congressional hearing on Balochistan a routine matter and said the US government had no control over the Congress.