Afghanistan Wants 50 Taliban Off UN Blacklist

Posted June 7th, 2011 at 4:50 pm (UTC-5)
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The Afghan government has asked the United Nations to remove 50 Taliban members from a U.N. blacklist, in an effort to promote peace talks with insurgents and end the 10-year war.

The head of the U.N. committee overseeing sanctions against al-Qaida and the Taliban, Peter Wittig, said Tuesday the committee will consider the request by June 17. The U.N. blacklist subjects Taliban members to an asset freeze and travel ban.

Wittig, who is also Germany's ambassador to the U.N., said not all 50 names would be removed from the list. He noted any changes would reflect the changing political developments in Afghanistan and allow the Afghan government to have greater control of the Taliban list.

The move is expected to draw opposition from several countries, including Russia, India and China.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has set up a council to seek peace talks with members of the Taliban who renounce violence, accept the Afghan constitution and sever ties with al-Qaida.

There are more than 450 people on the U.N. committee's sanctions list, including roughly 140 with direct links to the Taliban.

In violence Tuesday, police in central Bamiyan province said they had found the body of the head of the provincial council, Jawad Zahak, who was abducted four days ago while traveling in neighboring Parwan province.

No one has claimed responsibility for Zahak's abduction but authorities blame Taliban militants.

The relatively peaceful Bamiyan province is slated to be one of seven areas to transition from foreign to Afghan security control in July of this year.