- Afghanistan - Taliban - United Nations
UN removes five Taliban officials from sanctions list
The United Nations said on Tuesday that a Security Council committee has removed five former senior Taliban officials from its sanctions list, something Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been pushing for.
AFP- A UN Security Council panel said Tuesday it has removed five top Taliban officials from its list of individuals subjected to sanctions imposed over their links with Al-Qaeda.
A statement said the panel on Monday "approved the deletion (de-listing) of the five entries" from its blacklist of individuals subjected to a travel ban, assets freeze and arms embargo.
The move coincided with an announcement by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that he would press for Taliban names to be removed from the UN blacklist at a major conference on Afghanistan in London Thursday.
Karzai hopes to win Western support at the London talks for a plan to offer money and jobs to persuade Taliban fighters to lay down their weapons.
The five officials removed from the UN list are Abdul Wakil Mutawakil, who was foreign minister under the now ousted Taliban regime; Faiz Mohammad Faizan, a former deputy commerce minister; Shams-US-Safa, a former foreign ministry official; Mohammad Musa, a deputy planning minister; and Abdul Hakim, a former deputy frontier affairs minister.
The UN statement said Abdul Hakim broke with the Taliban and has been governor of the Afghan province of Uruzgan since May 2007 while Mohammad Musa has been an elected member of parliament from Wardak province since May 2007.
A Western diplomat said the five were now believed to be "moderate Taliban officials" with whom Karzai could start a dialogue.
The UN blacklist had been established under UN Security Council Resolution 1267, adopted in October 1999 for the purpose of overseeing implementation of sanctions imposed on Taliban-controlled Afghanistan for its support of Osama bin Laden's extremist network.
Under the resolution, UN member states are required to impose travel bans, an asset freeze and an arms embargo on any individual or entity associated with Al-Qaeda, bin Laden and/or the Taliban.
To that end, a Security Council sanctions panel, chaired by Austria since January 1, 2009, maintains a list of individuals and entities linked to the two extremist groups.
Austria said the list contains some 500 names, including 142 linked to the Afghan extremist group.
The UN blacklist list with all its entries is available on the Internet at: http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/index.shtml.
On Tuesday, Karzai won regional support in Istanbul for his efforts to cajole Islamist insurgents to lay down their arms, as Germany offered more troops and cash for the ravaged nation.
After talks with his Turkish and Pakistani peers, as well as officials from countries such as China, Iran and Russia, Karzai said moderate Taliban fighters should be brought back into the fold.
"Those Taliban who were not part of terrorist networks or Al-Qaeda are the sons of the Afghan soil," Karzai told reporters. "They are thousands and thousands and thousands and they have to be reintegrated."
In a joint statement after the meeting in Istanbul, the participants declared that they "support the Afghan national process of reconciliation and reintegration... in a way that is Afghan-led and -driven."
The Taliban have been waging an increasingly virulent insurgency aimed at toppling the Afghan government in Kabul and destabilizing the rest of the impoverished country.