Saudi Arabia to host next round of peace talks on Afghanistan

Saudi Arabia to host next round of peace talks on Afghanistan
Updated 30 December 2018

Saudi Arabia to host next round of peace talks on Afghanistan

Saudi Arabia to host next round of peace talks on Afghanistan
  • Saturday’s confirmation of the Saudi role followed a telephone conversation on Thursday between King Salman and the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani
  • Last summer, Saudi Arabia hosted a global conference of Islamic scholars to discuss the Afghan war.

KABUL: The next round of peace talks on Afghanistan will take place in Saudi Arabia, probably in January.

Saturday’s confirmation of the Saudi role followed a telephone conversation on Thursday between King Salman and the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Ghani praised the “prominent” Saudi role “in consolidation of peace and stability in Afghanistan,” and said the next meeting in the Kingdom would be “a good step and start for subsequent processes.” 

He thanked the king for his support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, and the king promised to use his offices to consolidate peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Last summer, Saudi Arabia hosted a global conference of Islamic scholars to discuss the Afghan war.

A spokesman for the Afghan government-appointed High Peace Council said council members and government delegates are expected to take part in the January talks.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said discussions were continuing among the group’s leadership about the meeting’s venue and date.

Two weeks ago, American, Saudi, Pakistani and Emirati officials attended a meeting in Abu Dhabi to explore ways to end the Afghan war.

At that meeting, the Taliban said it would negotiate directly with the Afghan government only after the withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan.

Since then, US President Donald Trump has surprised American allies by announcing that he intended to halve the number of US troops in Afghanistan, from 14,000 to about 7,000.

The 17-year conflict in Afghanistan is America’s longest war, and Trump has long campaigned on bringing US soldiers home. Nevertheless, in 2017 he added 4,000 troops to US forces there in an attempt to speed up the peace process.


Saudi TV says missile or drone intercepted over Riyadh

Saudi TV says missile or drone intercepted over Riyadh
Updated 23 January 2021

Saudi TV says missile or drone intercepted over Riyadh

Saudi TV says missile or drone intercepted over Riyadh
  • Social media users posted video of what appeared to be an explosion in the air over Riyadh
  • The Houthis did not immediately acknowledge launching a missile or a drone toward Riyadh

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia said Saturday it intercepted an apparent missile or drone attack over its capital, Riyadh, amid the kingdom’s yearslong war against neighboring Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
Social media users posted video of what appeared to be an explosion in the air over Riyadh. Saudi state TV quoted authorities in the kingdom acknowledging the interception.
The Houthis did not immediately acknowledge launching a missile or a drone toward Riyadh.
The Houthis have held Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, since September 2014. Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a war against them in March 2015 in support of Yemen’s internationally recognized government.
The war has been mired in a stalemate for years. Riyadh has been targeted in sporadic missile attacks in that time, while the Houthis also have launched missile and drone strikes.
Western experts, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. say Iran has supplied arms, including ballistic missiles to the Houthis. Iran denies that, though devices in the weapons link back to Tehran.