‘Saudis helping broker Taliban talks’

Saudi Arabia has been assisting in negotiations with Taliban in Afghanistan.

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has been assisting in negotiations with the Taliban militia in Afghanistan, according to a US State Department document from February 2010 released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

The document from the US embassy in Riyadh, a briefing paper for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of a visit to Saudi Arabia dated February 2, said that King Abdullah "has not yet acknowledged the Saudi role in Taliban mediation in conversations with USG (US government) officials."
Saudi intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz "has explained to several recent USG visitors that (the Saudi government) prefers to keep such discussions in intelligence channels until any agreement is reached," the paper said.
Riyadh has public denied helping in the talks. On November 6, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal reiterated that mediating with the Taliban would be impossible until the group denounces and disassociates itself from Al-Qaeda and stops providing sanctuary to Osama bin Laden.

Bureau Report