Karzai Seeks Saudi Help in Taliban Talks

Afghan president arrives in Riyadh
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2010 10:18 AM CST
Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal and Afghan President Hamid Karzai attend the main session of the World Economic Forum in this 2007 file photo.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Hamid Karzai arrived in Riyadh today, hoping to secure Saudi Arabia’s help in peace negotiations with the Taliban. Karzai and his entourage will first make a pilgrimage to Mecca, then meet with King Abdullah tomorrow to discuss the reconciliation process. Abdullah has said his government won’t participate as a mediator unless the Taliban agrees to deny refuge to Osama bin Laden.

The Taliban has been unwilling to negotiate with Kabul, but Karzai hopes they’ll change their tune if the Saudis, one of the few governments to recognize them while they were in power, are involved. A former Saudi diplomat tells Reuters that the country has “a genuine interest to bring peace to Afghanistan because it will help stabilize Pakistan, a strategic ally of the kingdom, and can use its connections with Afghan religious leaders to achieve that.”

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