“It was inevitable the Afghan government would fall” once Donald Trump signed a deal with the Taliban, the former head of Saudi intelligence has told Sky News, in a wide-ranging interview that was critical of NATO’s recent rapid departure from Afghanistan.
“When Mr Trump made a deal with the Taliban behind the back of the (Afghan) government…its legitimacy was negated by that action, and Mr Biden accepted Mr Trump’s deal with the Taliban,” said Prince Turki al-Faisal.
Prince Turki, who resigned 10 days before the catastrophic events in early September 2001, dismissed the recent NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan as “haphazard, unorganised and unacceptable”.
Saudi Arabia was closely linked to the attacks on 9/11 because it was the birthplace of Osama bin Laden and the majority of hijackers involved in the attacks, but Prince Faisal has previously denied any involvement by Riyadh.
The Kingdom has dismissed accusations there was any connection to extremist groups like Al Qaeda and welcomed the recent declassification of documents looking into links between Saudi citizens and two of the hijackers.
Saudi Arabia has for decades been a key security ally of Western governments, including the UK and US, but with mixed results.
Prince Turki said that the Taliban has yet to show it can be trusted to run the country.
“I think they have to show that they are serious about what they said, before you give them international recognition. But I think the whole world should find ways to support the Afghan people with humanitarian aid, food aid, medicines etc etc,” he said.
The interview coincided with the news that the British government has sent its first team of diplomats to meet with the Taliban administration.
Sir Simon Gass, the Prime Minister’s High Representative for Afghan Transition, and Dr Martin Longden, Chargé d’Affaires of the UK Mission to Afghanistan in Doha, travelled to Afghanistan today to hold talks with the new government.
A statement from the Foreign Office said they met senior figures from the militant group that is now in charge of Afghanistan.
“Sir Simon and Dr Longden discussed how the UK could help Afghanistan to address the humanitarian crisis, the importance of preventing the country from becoming an incubator for terrorism, and the need for continued safe passage for those who want to leave the country. They also raised the treatment of minorities and the rights of women and girls,” the statement said.
“The government continues to do all it can to ensure safe passage for those who wish to leave, and is committed to supporting the people of Afghanistan.”
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