14 Taliban members removed from UN blacklist
Those on the blacklist are subject to asset freezes and travel bans. In a statement, the UN said that the names had been removed to prepare the ground for successful peace talks with the Taliban.
Since last year, the Afghan government has been trying to convince the UN to remove the names of 50 Taliban officials from the blacklist, including four current members of the High Peace Council, according to the statement.
The effort is part of a larger push by the Afghan government for UN review of the blacklist as a first step toward reconciliation with the Taliban.
The Taliban deputy minister of higher education, Mullah Arsala Rahmani; the Taliban ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Habibullah Fawzi; the Taliban deputy minister of mines, Syed Rahman Haqqani; and another Taliban official, Faqir Mohammad, were included among the 14 officials removed from the UN sanctions list, the statement said. The remaining names were not disclosed.
Russia opposed the removal of the Taliban officials from the blacklist.
Last month, the UN decided to sanction Al Qaeda and the Taliban separately. The Russian UN delegate said at the time that documents presented by Afghan government regarding the links between Taliban and Al Qaeda did not represent conclusive proof of their relationship.
The UN blacklist was established in 1999 under UN Resolution 1267, during the rule of Taliban in Afghanistan.
There are 200 members of Al Qaeda and 130 members of the Taliban on the blacklist. Before Friday, only 15 Taliban had been removed from the list over the past six years, 10 of them last year.
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