Taliban negotiators are meeting with U.S. officials in Qatar for a series of discussions aimed at building trust and preparing both sides for upcoming peace talks.
Former Taliban official Maulavi Qalamuddin, who once led the group’s religious police, says about five Taliban negotiators are there for the preliminary talks. He says the talks include the possible release of Taliban prisoners from the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Qalamuddin says the Taliban delegation currently in Doha includes several former Taliban officials and a former secretary to the Taliban’s leader Mullah Omar.
He says the group traveled to Qatar from Pakistan, a possible sign that Islamabad may be on board with the peace process.
Last week, U.S. special envoy Marc Grossman said the United States and Afghanistan were supportive of the Taliban’s plan to open a political office in Qatar.
He said, however, that no decision has been made regarding the release of detainees.
The United States plans to withdraw all its combat forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.