The White House is welcoming the opening of a Taliban office in Dohar, Qatar as an "important first step" toward reconciliation in war-torn Afghanistan.
Senior White House officials said the Taliban later today will release a statement that its members oppose using Afghan soil to threaten other countries and that they support an Afghan peace process – two statements the U.S. has long called for and that fulfill a requirement for opening the political office.
Administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss negotiations said the U.S. welcomes the effort as an "important first step toward reconciliation – a process that after 30 years of armed conflict in Afghanistan will certainly promise to be complex, long and messy, but nonethless this is an important first step."
The White House says the outcome must be that the Taliban and other insurgent groups break ties with Al Queda, end violence and accept Afghan's Constitution -- including protections for women and minorities.
They called opening the office "but one milestone on a path to peace" and called on the Afghan government and Taliban to begin negotiations soon.