Thursday, January 28, 2010

UN Lifts Sanctions on Taliban Leaders

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 27: A UN Security Council panel said on Tuesday it had 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 on 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 former 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 diplomat said the five were now believed to be “moderate Taliban officials” with whom Karzai could start a dialogue.

The blacklist had been established under UN SC Resolution 1267, adopted in October 1999 for the purpose of overseeing implementation of sanctions imposed on Taliban-controlled Afghanistan for its support of Al Qaeda.—AFP

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