'Saudi Arabia has voiced support for American efforts to nourish Afghanistan's democracy, but it has also lavishly funded Sunni extremism under various guises. A longtime ally of Pakistan, it has backed Islamabad’s promotion of the Taliban. Over the years, wealthy Saudi sheikhs and rich philanthropists have also stoked the war by privately financing the insurgents, while, Saudi Arabia has officially supported the American mission and the Afghan government and even secretly sued for peace in clandestine negotiations on their behalf. The dual tracks allow Saudi officials plausibly to deny official support for the Taliban, even as they have turned a blind eye to private funding of the Taliban and other hard-line Sunni groups. The result is that the Saudis have tacitly supported the Taliban in ways that make the kingdom an indispensable power broker.'