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Saudi Arabia Cuts Ties with Taleban - 2001-09-25


International pressure is mounting on Afghanistan's ruling Taleban movement as Saudi Arabia says it has cut ties with the Taleban because it continues to harbor terrorists.

In announcing its action Tuesday, Saudi Arabia said that the Taleban had failed to heed its previous warnings.

The decision by the kingdom further isolates the Taleban after the United Arab Emirates Saturday also cut all ties with the movement.

The latest developments may be giving a diplomatic boost to U.S. efforts to encourage the Taleban to hand over Osama bin Laden.

Washington has named Mr. bin Laden as the prime suspect in the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

In announcing its decision, the Saudi government issued a statement that said, in part, "because the Taleban government did not pay attention to all the contacts and attempts made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to persuade it to stop harboring criminals and terrorists, the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announces cutting off all its relations with the Taleban government."

The Saudi government stripped Mr. bin Laden of his Saudi citizenship in 1994 for his alleged activities against the Saudi royal family.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan recognized the Taleban as Afghanistan's government in 1997 but, a year later, froze diplomatic relations in protest over the presence of Mr. bin Laden in Afghanistan.

Pakistan is now the only country with formal diplomatic links with the Taleban, although on Monday, Islamabad withdrew the entire staff of its embassy in Kabul, citing security reasons.

Pakistan has said it is willing to support the U.S. effort to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice. Tuesday, Pakistan's ambassador to Egypt confirmed that support, saying Pakistan could not alienate itself from taking a position against terrorism.

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