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In navigating return of Taliban, will Saudi reopen embassy in Afghanistan?

If the reported push to reopen materializes, it could help provide some legitimacy to the Taliban government.
WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

On the sidelines of the third United Nations conference on Afghanistan in Doha on June 30, Riyadh reportedly expressed its eagerness to reopen its embassy in Kabul. Having closed the premises in February 2023 under threat of an attack on its diplomats, the kingdom seems ready to trust the Taliban government again. 

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a June 30 X post that Riyadh was seeking to reopen the embassy "as soon as possible." Mujahid, who was in Doha for the UN conference, said that the Afghan delegation had met with the Saudi delegation and had a "constructive dialogue."

Saudi Arabia has not commented publicly on the reports.

In the aftermath of the takeover of Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021, most countries had shut down their embassies. Then in February 2023, more diplomatic missions closed due to terror threats in Afghanistan. 

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