UN takes five Taliban off blacklist
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Five Taliban members, including a former ambassador to the United Nations, have been taken off a UN sanctions terrorism list.Two of them are dead but the other deletions seem to be an attempt to help President Hamid Karzai launch dialogue with some of his opponents.
The five are:
- Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad Awrang, a former Afghan envoy to the UN when the Taliban ruled the country;
- Abdul Salam Zaeef, author of My life with the Taliban;
- Abdul Samad Khaksar, who has died;
- Muhammed Islam Mohammadi, also dead.
The panel is to complete its review of the blacklist, which until now included 137 Afghan nationals, Saturday and will unveil its full results on Monday. Those on the list are subject to asset freezes, a travel ban and an arms embargo.
Karzai wishes to have talks with the Taliban, a strategy which was approved by this year’s Afghan conference in London and is backed by the US, although there appear to be differences on how far to go in reconciliation efforts.
New orders to international troops by incoming commander General David Petraeus say that the task is to "separate the reconcilables from the irreconcilabes", rather than winning over the whole movement.
The Afghan government reportedly sought the removal of up to 50 former Taliban officials from the blacklist, which contains nearly 500 names, including those of a number of persons now deceased.
Last January, the sanctions panel had already removed five top Taliban officials from its list.
Removal from the list requires unanimous approval from all 15 members of the Security Council's sanctions panel.
Russia prevents more deletions, because of the influence of armed Islamist groups in central Asia, both in Russian republics and their neighbours.