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Afghanistan. Saudi diplomats left the country. Reuters: For security reasons

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Saudi diplomats left Afghanistan for training and will return to Kabul, the Taliban administration said on Monday, though three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters security reasons contributed to their departure.

A diplomatic source and two others told Reuters that the Saudi diplomats had left Afghanistan by air and moved to Pakistan late last week due to warnings of an increased risk of attacks in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

The Taliban said their departure was temporary and not for security reasons. “Some Saudi embassy staff have gone out for some kind of training and will be back,” a Taliban administration spokesman said Zabihullah Mujahid.


Reuters asked Pakistan’s foreign ministry for comment, which referred the agency to the Saudi embassy in Islamabad. The government’s communications office and Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

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The agency stressed that it was not clear how long the Saudi diplomats intended to be out of Afghanistan, or how many had left the country.

Withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan

Several states operated their Afghan embassies from Pakistan and Qatarsince US-led coalition forces withdrew from the country and the Taliban took power in 2021 after 20 years.

Some countries maintained a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, including Russia, whose embassy was the target of a suicide bombing at its gate, which killed two Russian staff and four Afghan nationals.

Islamic State militants claimed responsibility for this attack and several others targeting foreigners, including an attack on a hotel popular with Chinese businessmen and a failed attempt to kill a Pakistani mission chief at his embassy.

Islamic State for years it has also been targeting security installations in Saudi Arabia, which is the world’s largest oil exporter and the birthplace of Islam.

The Taliban said they are focused on eliminating Islamic State and other security threats and will do their best to protect foreign interests in Afghanistan.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/STRINGER

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