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Central & South Asia
Karzai 'seeks terror list revision'
Afghan leader to ask UN to drop up to 50 ex-Taliban leaders from blacklist, US daily says.
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2010 07:22 GMT
Karzai seeks removal of former Taliban leaders from a UN blacklist in a bid to mend relations [AFP]

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, plans to seek the removal of up to 50 former Taliban members from a UN terrorism list in a bid to advance reconciliation talks.

The request to remove about a quarter of the 137 names on the list was reported by the Washington Post newspaper on Monday, citing an unnamed senior Afghan official.

Officially, the Karzai government has set pre-conditions for any peace talks with armed fighters, saying that they would have to first renounce violence, accept the Afghan constitution, and rescind ties with "international terrorist groups".

The Afghan government has sought for years to delist former Taliban leaders who it says have cut ties with the group.

The senior Afghan official said that Karzai would request that 30 to 50 names be delisted to "remove all those Taliban who are not part of al-Qaeda and are not terrorists," the Washington Post reported.

Government members

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

The report also said that the diplomatic effort at the UN was met with resistance from the organisation's officials, who demand more evidence that the individuals in question have renounced violence, embraced the new Afghan constitution and severed any links with the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

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Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, met UN officials last week to press them to move forward on the delisting process, the US newspaper reported, citing sources familiar with the talks in New York.

Holbrooke apparently hoped to reach an agreement on delisting some of the purportedly reformed Taliban members before an international conference this month in Kabul that is aimed at bolstering stability in Afghanistan.

UN 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 commanders in diplomacy have raised doubts about who should be on the list.

The US however, opposes the delisting of some Taliban fighters, including Mullah Mohammad Omar, the group's leader, the Washington Post said.

Mullah Arsala Rahmani, a member of the Afghan senate and former Taliban education minister, was reported to have said that after he spoke with a UN delegation in Kabul last month, he was led to believe that he "was going to be removed from the blacklist".

"Karzai wants the UN to remove all the people's names from the blacklist," Rahmani said. "And that's something that all Afghans want, because it will help in the process of peace negotiations."

Source:
Agencies
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