KSA: No asylum for Taliban leader
The Saudi government on Saturday denied information that it has offered political refuge to Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.
A foreign ministry spokesman “denies totally the report … according to which Saudi Arabia has offered political asylum to the Taliban leader,” the state news agency SPA reported.
The German news magazine Der Spiegel, in its edition due to appear on Monday, said Saudi King Abdullah had offered asylum to Mullah Omar, quoting sources close to the Kabul government.
The sources said the offer was the result of intervention and pressure from Afghan President Hamid Karzai and US President George W. Bush as part of efforts to close a settlement.
The Afghan president has for years pushed for peace talks with the Taliban which ruled the country before a 2001 US-led invasion, as a way out of a deadly insurgency involving foreign militants, including Al-Qaeda.
The Taliban, driven from government for sheltering Al-Qaeda after the September 2001 terror attacks, have said they would only agree to negotiations if international troops leave Afghanistan.