Kabul, 19 Jumadil Awwal 1434/31 March 2013 (MINA) – Afghan president Hamid Karzai accompanied by a delegation of senior government officials on Saturday (30/3) left Kabul for a two day visit to Qatar, Khaama Press reprted as monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).

Presidential Palace Media office following a statement announced, President Hamid Karzai, leading a high level delegation, left this noon for Qatari capital Doha on a two-day state visit at the invitation of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifah Al-Thani.”

The source further added, “During this trip, the President is scheduled to hold meetings with the Amir of Qatar as well as other senior Qatari officials to discuss ways to enhance the level of bilateral cooperation and on Afghanistan’s peace process.”

“On this visit, President Karzai is accompanied by Foreign Minister Dr. Rasoul, National Security Advisor Dr. Spanta, Presidential Advisor on International Affairs Dr. Marufi, Chairman of the High Peace Council Mr. Rabbani, Head of the Council’s Secretariat Mr. Stanikzai Chief of Staff to the President Mr. Abdul Karim Khuram and the President’s Spokesman Aimal Faizi.” the statement added.

Karzai’s trip, announced on Sunday, would be the first time that the Afghan head of state has travelled to Qatar to discuss the peace process, and comes after years of stalled discussions between Afghanistan, the United States, Pakistan and the Taliban.

This comes as preside Karazi accused Washington of holding talks with the Taliban behind the Afghan government’s back.

Meanwhile, the BBC reported, the possibility of the Taliban opening a political office in Qatar is expected to be discussed, officials say.

The setting up of an office in Qatar is regarded as an important step in formalising a channel for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

As the Afghan president’s visit began, there were reports that two children and nine suspected Taliban militants had been killed in an air strike by international forces close to the south-eastern city of Ghazni.

Last month, President Karzai issued an order banning Afghan security forces from calling in foreign air strikes in residential areas, because of heightened tensions about the extent of civilian casualties.

Last month Mr Karzai and Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari said that they would work towards a peace deal for Afghanistan within six months. (T/P09/P03)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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