Angry voices within the Taliban movement could scuttle peace talks before they even begin, infuriated that a sign identifying their new office in the Gulf state of Qatar as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was removed, their spokesman said on Saturday.
The opening of the Taliban
office was heralded as the best chance of bringing to a peaceful end 12 years of bloody war despite its rocky beginnings.
But the peace process ran aground almost immediately when Kabul objected to the wording of its name, saying it was tantamount to the establishment of a rival government office, not a political office.
Under pressure from host nation Qatar, the Taliban removed the sign and lowered their flag -- a white flag emblazoned with a Quranic verse in black – out of public view on Wednesday.
“There is an internal discussion right now and much anger about it but we have not yet decided what action to take,” Shaheen Suhail, the Taliban’s spokesman in Qatar said. “But I think it weakens the process from the very beginning.”
Afghan president Hamid Karzai reacted furiously on Tuesday to the sign, temporarily withdrawing from talks and put a quick end to negotiations with the United States over a security accord that is to lay out protection for US forces.