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The United States and Taliban certainly has a tense relationship this last decade - the U.S. ousted it from power in Afghanistan, after all -- so mending that relationship in 2012 needs a very basic starting point: a place to negotiate. Today Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid emailed a statement to news agencies, including to the AP, Reuters, and al-Jazeera, to let them know that a preliminary deal had been reached with the U.S. for the Taliban to open a liaison office in Qatar so it can start dealing with the international community. "For the United States and its allies, the idea of a Taliban political office in the Qatari capital Doha has become the central element in efforts to draw the insurgents into peace talks," reports the AP today. We learned two weeks ago that the U.S. has been in secret 10-month-long talks with the Taliban to broker a peace with the militants and bring them back into the fold of Afghani society so we could finally end the war in Afghanistan like we have in Iraq. Making those talks less secret now will be good for the United States, since in the past it could never be sure if it was dealing with real Taliban officials in negotiations as "some of them with interlocutors ... turned out to be frauds," reports Reuters. As part of the deal, the Taliban is calling for the release of its members held in Guantanamo Bay, something the U.S. has considered before.

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