US congressmen held talks on Tuesday in Doha with a high-ranking delegation from the Taliban regime, Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said.
"The meeting took place between members of US Congress and the Taliban delegation led by Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil,” Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim told the Doha-based Al-Jazeera satellite television channel, cited by the Gulf Times.
"It was held on the basis of allowing each party to express their point of view," he said, adding that Qatari officials had helped organize the meeting.
Sheikh Hamad gave no details on the meeting between the congressmen and Taliban officials who left Doha later Tuesday after a four-day visit.
The Taliban militia controls most of Afghanistan where Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden has been staying since 1996, despite US pressure to hand him over to US justice authorities.
Bin Laden is wanted by Washington for allegedly masterminding the bombings of two US embassies in east Africa in 1998 which claimed more than 200 lives.
US requests for the Taliban to expel bin Laden have so far been refused on the grounds that he is a guest in Afghanistan and the US had provided no proof of his guilt.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim told the Doha-based channel that Qatar was considering a request by the Taliban movement on opening an office of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Kabul, the paper quoted him as saying.
The Taliban's delegation "submitted a request to Qatar -currently chairing the OIC -for the opening of an office in Kabul," the minister said.
"It is being studied," he added.
Once the proposed office was opened, the minister said, it would serve as a liaison office for monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and coordinating humanitarian aid for people there.
"Qatar was making necessary contacts with the other OIC member states and the OIC office over the request," the minister explained that should the request be approved, the office would be opened immediately, the Gulf Times said.
The minister denied the two sides had discussed a request by the Taliban movement seeking Qatar's official recognition of its government, saying Qatar was committed to relevant UN and Security Council resolutions.
Three countries, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have established diplomatic relations with the Taliban government – Albawaba.com
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