Atul Aneja

DUBAI: Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai is set to visit Saudi Arabia to build momentum following talks in London where it was decided that a concerted effort will be made to draw the “moderate” section of the Taliban into the Afghan mainstream.

Mr. Karzai is expected to meet Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz on Wednesday, said presidential spokesman Siamek Herawi.

Saudi Arabia, which had recognised the Taliban government before it was ousted following the 9/11 attacks, may still exercise some influence among members of the Afghan extremist group. Analysts, however, point out that since 2003, when it was attacked by the Al-Qaeda in some of its major cities, Riyadh has cracked down hard on Islamist militancy. Afghanistan will also be in focus when NATO Defence Ministers meet in Turkey on Thursday.