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14 FORMER TALIBAN RMOVED FROM UN BLACKLIST

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 Fourteen former Afghan Taliban leaders, including Arsala Rahmani,  have been removed from an international blacklist by the UN Security Council, sources said on Saturday 07/16/2011.

President Hamid Karzai’s government had asked the UN sanctions committee to drop the names from the list. They include four members of the High Peace Council set up last year to pave the way for talks with the Taliban, headed by Burhanuddin Rabbani (see -Jirga 06.05.10). The Security Council said the delisting of the names sent out a strong signal of support for the Afghan government’s reconciliation efforts (see als0 – .Peace-Talks 106.18.11 ).

The sanctions were imposed in 1999, when the Taliban were in power, and were expanded after The 9/11.

“The international community recognizes efforts made by members of the High Peace Council  to work toward peace, stability and reconciliation,” (see – Germany’s UN ambassador Peter Wittig, who chairs the sanctions committee, said in a statement. “All Afghans are encouraged to join these efforts. The message is clear: Engaging for peace pays off,” he said.

But according to the Associated Press news agency, the Afghan government had wanted 50 names dropped from the blacklist. It had provided extensive documentation to show they had reintegrated into society, but the committee refused to remove them from the list, the agency says.

Following Friday’s decision, 123 names remain on the Taliban sanctions list that imposes travel bans and asset freezes.

Analysts say the US and NATO-ISAF acknowledge that they cannot withdraw successfully from Afghanistan, or effect a transition to Afghan forces by 2014, without an end to the war and some kind of political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

US President Barack Obama has said 10,000 US troops will pull out this year, with another 23,000 leaving by the end of 09/2012 (see – Obamas Withdrawal).

Civilian and military casualties are at levels not seen for a decade in Afghanistan – last year more than 2,400 civilians died (see – Kabul 08.10.10). The first six months of 2011 were the deadliest for civilians in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001, a UN report has found.

The country saw 1,462 civilian deaths in January to June 2011, a 15% increase on the same period last year.
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