Saudi Arabia had sought to host a liaison office for the Taliban terrorist group before the 2013 establishment of the center in Doha, sources said.

It comes weeks after Saudi Arabia and its regional allies imposed a blockade on Qatar over its alleged support for terrorism.

Abdullah Anas, an Afghan peace mediator, told the Middle Ease Eye (MEE) news portal on Friday that he was shocked by Saudi Arabia’s claims that Qatar backs extremism by hosting Taliban.

“If Qatar is hosting the Taliban for talks aimed at reconciling the warring factions in Afghanistan, this initiative was established in Saudi Arabia before,” he said.

“There were also some rounds in the Emirates. So if Qatar is accused of hosting terrorists, someone hosted the same ‘terrorists’ before this,” he added.

Another source confirmed Anas’ remarks, saying that the Taliban’s Doha office opened after Riyadh failed to establish an effective mechanism for communication with the militant group.

The source whose name was not mentioned in the report, said the United States and Britain turned to Qatar to liaise with the Taliban because of Riyadh’s failure to do so.

Al Jazeera journalist Hashmat Moslih has also said that the Taliban chose Qatar to host their office as a “neutral country to the war on Afghanistan.