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Kabul's reaction entirely justified: Dobbins

Kabul's reaction entirely justified: Dobbins

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Jun 24, 2013 - 22:54

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): US Special Representative James Dobbins on Monday acknowledged the Afghan government's angry reaction to the opening of Talibaninfo-icon's political bureau in Doha was fully justified.

He said the US itself was "outraged" at the way the Taliban opened their office named the "Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistaninfo-icon and projected it as a government in exile. The movement's flag was hoisted at the office called the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan".

President Karzai, angered by the controversial sign and hoisting of the Taliban's while flag at the building, suspended negotiations with the United States on the Bilateral Security Agreement.

Speaking to journalists in Kabul, America's special envoy said they had contacted the Qatari government and asked it to take corrective measures. The Gulf state had responded with remedial steps, he added.

Dobbins remarked: "We were outraged ourselves because it was inconsistent with the assurances we had received and the assurances we had held out. Afghanistan's reaction was entirely predictable and entirely justified."

The symbols, signs and nomenclature used by the Taliban were contradictory to the understanding the Americans had reached with the group, the ambassador said after talks with President Karzai.

Dobbins characterised the spate over the Taliban office as a combination of misunderstandings and the rebels' desire to score a propaganda point. He believed the Taliban had "overplayed their hand".

Billing his meeting with the president as "positive and upbeat", he said they reviewed progress on the reconciliation front. They were awaiting the Taliban's willingness for talks. "No real issues of controversy emerged."

Also on Monday, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters in Washington the US was still optimistic of getting peace parleys with the Taliban and Afghan officials back on track.

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