Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

UN terror blacklist move may ease peace talks in Afghanistan

The UN is considering creating separate terrorism blacklists for al Qażeda and the Taliban,which would symbolically recognise their different agendas and could spur possible Afghan peace talks.

KABUL // The United Nations said yesterday it is considering creating separate terrorism blacklists for al Qa'eda and the Taliban, a political gesture that could spur possible Afghan peace talks.

Peter Wittig, permanent representative of Germany to the United Nations and chairman of the UN committee overseeing the sanctions, said the panel will decide in about two weeks whether to divide the list.

The US and Afghan governments have said that they are willing to reconcile with Taliban members who renounce violence, embrace the Afghan constitution and sever ties with al Qa'eda.

Making two separate lists would symbolically sever the Taliban from al Qa'eda, recognising their different agendas.

"It would highlight the significance of the political efforts that are ongoing in Afghanistan," Mr Wittig told a group of reporters at a briefing in the Afghan capital.

Al Qa'eda is focused on worldwide jihad against the West and establishment of a religious state in the Muslim world, while Afghan Taliban militants have focused on their own country and have shown little interest in attacking targets outside Afghanistan.

"The links are there, but they don't justify putting them in the same basket," said Mr Wittig, whose country favours the split.

"There would be an element of Afghan ownership because there would be an obligation to consult with the Afghan government on requests concerning changes to the list. So they would get a more prominent role."

The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has been making peace overtures to members of the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan for five years and sheltered al Qa'eda before being driven out of power in the US-led invasion in late 2001.

The Taliban have long demanded removal from the sanctions list to help promote reconciliation.

The current UN sanctions list for both al Qa'eda and the Taliban includes about 450 people, entities and organisations, including roughly 140 with links to the Taliban.

The Afghan government already has asked a UN panel to take about 50 Taliban figures off the sanctions list, which keeps them subject to an asset freeze and travel ban. The committee will rule on many of these requests next week.

Some nations, however, are still undecided about whether to embrace the idea of splitting the list. All committee members must vote in favour for it to be approved.

It is unclear, for instance, whether it will be approved by Russia, which has expressed a reluctance in the past to approve requests to delist Taliban members.

"Those who would argue that the split is not justified would say there still are links between the two groups - that they should be treated together," he said.

Afghan authorities are talking to council members to persuade them to back the idea.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 A view of a defaced portrait of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during an anti-North Korean rally on the 102nd birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung in central Seoul. Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

Best photography from around the world, April 15

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National