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The plot thickens

Qatar claims it hosted the Taliban at U.S. request

Amid mixed messages from Washington on the Saudi-led campaign to diplomatically isolate Qatar over allegations of terror sponsorship, the Qatari government has claimed its hosting of the Taliban's "political office" came in response to a U.S. request.

Qatari special envoy on counterterrorism Mutlaq Al Qahtani told Al Jazeera that Qatar permitted the Taliban to set up shop in 2013 "by request of the U.S. government" to "facilitat[e] the talks between the Americans, the Taliban, and the government of Afghanistan." The decision, he said, was part of Qatar's "open-door policy, to facilitate talks, to mediate, and to bring peace."

Al Jazeera is owned by the Qatari government and partially funded by the Qatari royal family. Qatar is also host to the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East, a facility that houses 11,000 American personnel and provides a base for airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.