Pakistan would back Taliban office in Turkey, official says
Pakistan would back a plan to allow the Taliban to open a political office in Turkey to help with talks to end the war in Afghanistan, a Pakistani official said yesterday during a visit by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to Ankara. Turkey, which previously hosted talks to build trust between Pakistan and Afghanistan, said it is open to allowing the establishment of a diplomatic presence for the Taliban on its soil, but that there has been no formal request yet. Analysts say that any solution to the Afghan conflict would likely require the support of Pakistan. "Pakistan has no reservations about such an office being opened," the official said, on condition of anonymity. "We are not against it. As long as there's ownership from the Afghan people and the Afghan government, we will not oppose it." The proposal first surfaced during a trilateral summit in December between Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan in Istanbul, where Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Kabul would welcome any offer by Turkey to facilitate talks with the Taliban.