UN diplomat pushes for de-listing Taliban operatives

The de-listing is believed to facilitate peace process in Afghanistan.

New York: A top UN official in Afghanistan has suggested speedy removal of Taliban operatives from the world body`s sanctions list in order to facilitate the peace process in the war-torn country.

"It is essential that the momentum of the recent peace jirga held in Afghanistan is maintained and utilised to advance dialogue towards development and stability in the country," said Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary General`s Special Representative in Afghanistan.

The diplomat was referring to the consultative peace gathering called Jirga held from June 02-04 outside Kabul and was attended by around 1,600 participants.

The UN sanction list under Security Council resolution 1267 passed in 1999 includes 142 Afghanistan officials who have been connected to the Taliban and 360 more with links to al Qaeda.

They are subject to asset freezes, travel bans and arms embargoes.

The presence of Taliban members on the list has added to friction in the peace process.

Several top UN and US officials have favoured removing some of the less dangerous people who do not pose a threat and incorporate them into the governance structure.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has been calling for the de-listing of all the names on the list.

Following the passage of a Security Council resolution in January ahead of the London Peace Conference, five senior Taliban leaders were removed from the list after the review leaving the number at 137.

Speaking to the Financial Times at that time, commander of the US forces in Afghanistan Gen Stanley McChrystal said, "I think any Afghans can play a role if they focus on the future, and not the past."

Those removed from list were Abdul Wakil Mutawakil, former foreign minister, Abdul Hakim, former deputy foreign minister, Faiz Mohammad Faizan, former deputy commerce minister, Shams-us-Safa, a former official under the Taliban regime and Mohammad Musa.

"We are not going to prejudge the conclusions of this group and neither of the Security Council, but the fact that it is taking place so soon after the Peace Jirga and so soon after the appeal to look seriously at this list is a sign of pro-activity which we welcome," Mistura said.

"The bottom line is that the momentum on the Peace Jirga, which was a success, needs to be maintained," Mistura added.

"And the way to maintain it is to have constant incremental signals that move in the direction of dialogue until we reach the conference of Kabul."


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