In the worldview of Saudi Arabian policymakers, Afghanistan and Pakistan lie considerably closer to the Kingdom than a short look at the map would suggest. The coastal regions of the Persian Gulf have long been part of regional trade networks oriented towards South Asia, and relations with cities like Bombay and Karachi have been as close as relations to the Arab countries north and west of the Arabian Peninsula for centuries. As a consequence, the Saudi leadership sees Afghanistan as part of the Kingdom’s immediate neighbourhood and has developed a strong interest in the future of the country since the 1980s, when Saudi Arabia feared a continuation of the Soviet advance towards the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.