Japan welcomes opening of Taliban office in Qatari capital

Japan welcomed on Wednesday the opening by the Islamic fundamentalist group Taliban of its first official overseas office in the Qatari capital Doha, appealing for it to start reconciliatory dialogue with the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said in a statement that Tokyo hopes the Taliban "will speedily start negotiations for reconciliation with the Afghan government and reach a peace agreement."

Japan will continue to back a process of reconciliation to be led by the Afghan government and stands ready to "contribute to the stability and sustained development of that country through cooperation with the international community," he said.