President Bush says he is grateful to Saudi Arabia for taking what he called a wise step in severing ties with the Taleban ruling faction in Afghanistan.
A Saudi government statement released in Riyadh Tuesday said the Taleban is defaming Islam by harboring and supporting terrorists.
The statement did not mention by name Saudi-exile Osama bin Laden. The United States has named Mr. bin Laden as the prime suspect in the September 11 attacks on Washington and New York.
Meanwhile, Mr. bin Laden's organization, al-Qaida, released a statement Tuesday which said Americans and Jews, wherever they are, will be targeted if the United States attacks him or Afghanistan, where the suspected terrorist mastermind is believed to be hiding. The group's statement issued Tuesday says Muslims should prepare for holy war (jihad).
The warning was faxed to news organizations in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, and was signed by al-Qaida's chief military commander, Naseer Ahmed Mujahed.
The statement follows comments by Taleban Defense Minister Mullah Obaidullah that the Taleban has mobilized 300,000 men to guard the borders and important places in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan's Taleban government now has diplomatic relations with only one country - neighboring Pakistan. However, on Monday Islamabad withdrew the entire staff of the Pakistani embassy in Kabul, citing security reasons.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters.