Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:18 am (KSA) 21:18 pm (GMT)

UN to remove Taliban from blacklist: Karzai

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1267 freezes assets and limits travel of senior figures linked to the Taliban (File)
U.N. Security Council Resolution 1267 freezes assets and limits travel of senior figures linked to the Taliban (File)

The United Nations has agreed to remove Taliban members who renounce ties to al Qaeda from a U.N. blacklist on a "gradual" basis, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office said on Tuesday.

Senior diplomats from the 15-nation U.N. Security Council were in the Afghan capital on Tuesday, following a call for a review of the names of Taliban figures on its sanction list at a peace conference in Kabul earlier this month.

"The president asked the U.N. delegates to remove Taliban members from their blacklist and the delegates agreed to do so gradually and provided the members had no links to al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups," Karzai's palace said in a statement.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1267 freezes assets and limits travel of senior figures linked to the Taliban, as well as al-Qaeda, but recent Afghan efforts to engage some insurgents in diplomacy have raised doubts about who should be on the list.

At least five of those named on the 137-name list are former Taliban officials who now serve in parliament or privately mediate between the government and the insurgents battling NATO-led forces and their Afghan partners.

Earlier this month, Afghanistan held a three day peace "jirga", or conference, in a bid to find a national consensus on ways to end a violent insurgency that has dragged on for almost nine years.

The jirga advised the government to seek the removal of names -- including those of Mullah Mohammad Omar and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar -- from the U.N. Security Council blacklist compiled after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

The list designated as terrorists Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders who were based in Afghanistan at the time, and helped to provide a U.N.-sanctioned justification for the U.S.-led invasion of the country in November 2001.

The Taliban, ousted by the 2001 invasion, have vowed to boycott any peace negotiations until the 142,000 U.S.-led foreign troops leave Afghanistan.

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