Riyadh: A senior Saudi official on Saturday called
on the Taliban to lay down their arms and renounce al-Qaeda as
preconditions for Saudi-mediated peace talks with the Afghan
"Saudi Arabia`s conditions for mediation ... are that the
Taliban lay down their weapons, engage in the political
process and renounce al Qaeda," the official said on
condition of anonymity.
"These are our three demands, and they have not changed
in three years," he added.
The Taliban, leading a 10-year insurgency against Afghan
President Hamid Karzai`s government, have denied reports of
planned peace talks in Saudi Arabia, despite claims by Afghan
officials that the two sides would hold talks in the kingdom
separate from those planned in Qatar.
Taliban negotiators have begun preliminary discussions
with the United States in Qatar on plans for peace talks aimed
at ending the decade-long war. They have also announced plans
to set up an office in Doha.
In late January, Afghan government spokesman Akim Hasher
said Kabul has "always preferred Saudi to Qatar."
A member of the Taliban`s leadership council has said
"the idea" that the Taliban should have a point of contact in
Saudi Arabia was being pushed by the Pakistan and Afghan