`Drop more Taliban from UNSC blacklist to ensure peace talks`

A former Taliban envoy to Pakistan, whose name was just dropped from the UN Security Council`s blacklist, has sought deletion of more Taliban leaders from the sanctions list to ensure peace talks in war-torn Afghanistan.

New York: A former Taliban envoy to Pakistan,
whose name was just dropped from the UN Security Council`s
blacklist, has sought deletion of more Taliban leaders from
the sanctions list to ensure peace talks in war-torn
Afghanistan.

Describing the UN Security Council`s blacklist on Taliban
as one of the "major obstacles" blocking Afghan peace talks,
Abdul Salam Zaeef said the Council`s latest move to remove
five names from the list constituted "a good first step."

Zaeef, a former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan and a
former deputy minister of mines, who spent more than four
years in prison, including the US military prison at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, wrote a memoir published earlier this
year, "My Life with the Taliban."

"It will build trust between both sides, but on one
condition," he was quoted as saying by New York Times.
"This process should continue and does not stop right
here. They should remove the names of more and more people
from this list one or two or five names are not enough," he
said.

On July 30, the United Nations Security Council removed
five members of the Taliban from its sanctions list, in a nod
toward the kind of reconciliation considered crucial for
Afghanistan`s future stability.

They were among a list of 20 names that the government
of President Hamid Karzai submitted several years ago to the
Security Council committee responsible for maintaining the
blacklist, the Times quoted diplomats as saying.

Five others were removed in January, eight have been
rejected for removal and two remain under review, they said.

Though many experts doubt it is possible,
reconciliation with the Taliban is being widely discussed as
the only way of resolving the Afghan war, it said. Karzai has
spoken recently about removing all the Taliban members from
the sanctions list, currently about 135 of them, but he has
not formally submitted any further requests, diplomats said.

Apart from Zaeef, Abdul Satar Paktin, a former deputy
health minister and Abdul Hakim Mujahed Awrang, a former
unofficial representative to the United Nations were taken off
from the list. The two dead men removed were Mohammed Islam
Mohammadi, the former governor of Bamian Province, and Abdul
Samad Khaksar, the former deputy interior minister.

Those listed are subject to a travel ban, asset freeze
and arms embargo, although in Afghanistan the list is often
interpreted as some kind of hit list for assassination. The
conditions for being removed are renouncing violence,
renouncing all ties to al Qaeda and accepting the Afghan
Constitution.

PTI