UNSC may remove Afghans from terror list

Asset, travel freeze on Taliban, Al Qaida members may end for peace.

June 13, 2010 20:22
1 minute read.
peace jirga

311_peace jirga. (photo credit: Associated Press)

KABUL, Afghanistan — Seeking to encourage a political solution to the nearly nine-year-old Afghan war, a UN committee has started reviewing whether to remove some individuals from a terror blacklist that freezes financial assets and limits travel of key Taliban and al-Qaida figures, the top UN representative in Afghanistan said on Sunday.

Delegates to a national conference, or peace jirga, held this month in Kabul called on the government and its international partners to remove some of the 137 people from the list — a long-standing demand of the Taliban.

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"De-listing was one of the clear messages coming from the peace jirga," Staffan de Mistura, the UN representative in Afghanistan, told reporters on Saturday. "The UN is listening to what the peace jirga is saying. Some of the people in the list may not be alive anymore. The list may be completely outdated."

A committee is expected to complete its review at the end of the month and give its recommendations to the UN Security Council, which will make the final decision on whether to take any names off the list.

"If we want the peace jirga to produce results, we need to keep momentum," de Mistura said. "The aim is not war, it is reconciliation. And reconciliation ... can only take place through constructive inclusion."

The peace jirga also supported the release of some Taliban prisoners in US custody at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and at Bagram Air Field north of the Afghan capital. As a goodwill gesture to the militants, Afghan President Hamid Karzai promised to make the detainee issue a priority and de Mistura said the UN supported efforts to release prisoners detained without legal basis.

Peace overtures to the insurgents come at a time when the US and its partners are ramping up military operations, especially in the Taliban's southern heartland. The Taliban also announced their own offensive last month aimed at forcing foreign troops from the country.

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