Afghan President seeks Saudi mediation with Taliban

Last Updated: Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 09:51

Riyadh: Afghan President Hamid Karzai met with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to try to secure an active role by the Arab kingdom in efforts to persuade Taliban militants to join the political process in Afghanistan.
Before the meeting yesterday, Karzai`s spokesman Waheed Omar told reporters that the Afghan leader "will ask King Abdullah to initiate a mediation with Taliban to start peace talks."

A Saudi official later said that Karzai made the proposal to King Abdullah but gave no further details. The official was speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

Last week, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said the kingdom will not get involved in peacemaking in Afghanistan unless the Taliban severs all ties with Osama bin
Laden and his terror al Qaeda network.

Saudi Arabia has a unique relationship with Taliban since it was one of the few countries to recognise its militant regime before it was ousted in 2001. It also has in the past acted as an intermediary between Taliban and rival Afghan factions.

The Saudi conditions for participating in the talks with Taliban, especially expelling former Saudi citizen bin Laden, are not new, but Riyadh is reiterating them amid a new international push to persuade it to mediate with the Afghan militants.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 09:51

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