KABUL, Afghanistan - American officials say U.S. representatives will begin formal meetings with the Taliban in a few days at the group's new office opening in Qatar.
Senior Obama administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record, described the Taliban's move to open a political office Tuesday in Doha as a stepping stone to full Taliban renouncement of al-Qaida.
In Doha, a Qatari official confirmed that the Taliban office was open.
Afghan security forces members stand guard at the site of a blast near the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday. The large bomb exploded in the Afghan capital on Tuesday as the international military coalition hands over responsibility for fighting the Taliban insurgency to the nascent national army and police they have been training.
The administration officials say the U.S. and Taliban representatives will hold bilateral meetings, then it is expected that Afghan President Hamid Karzai's High Peace Council will follow up with its own talks a few days later.