RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia will not get involved in peacemaking in Afghanistan unless the Taliban stops providing shelter and severs all ties with Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida movement, officials said Tuesday.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is visiting Saudi Arabia hoping for an active Saudi role in his plan to persuade Taliban militants to switch sides.
Saudi Arabia has a unique relationship with Taliban since it was one of the few countries to recognize the regime before it was ousted in 2001 and has acted as an intermediary before.
The Saudi conditions for participating in the talks with Taliban, especially expelling former Saudi citizen bin Laden, are not new, but Riyadh is restating them amid a new international push to work with the Afghan militants.
Riyadh “holds to its position which rejects entering any negotiations with Taliban before the group announces very clearly it is severing its connections with extremists and expelling the head of al-Qaida Osama bin Laden from its territories,” a Foreign Ministry official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.