In an interview with the New York Times on Sunday, the UN’s top official on Afghanistan, Kai Eide, expressed support for removing some Taliban and Al Qaeda members from targeted individual sanctions imposed by the Security Council. From the Times:

Mr. Eide said he did not believe that senior Taliban leaders like Mullah Omar should be removed from the list. It was Mullah Omar, after all, who provided sanctuary to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, which launched the Sept. 11 attacks.

But some second-tier Taliban should be taken from the list, he said. Those leaders are not necessarily associated with terrorist acts but might be able to speak for the movement, he said, and might be willing to reciprocate a good-will gesture.

At least one member of the Security Council agrees.  Citing the need for “sufficient flexibility to support the political process,” a British diplomat told me that his government supports removing some names from the so-called 1267 list (which refers to the 1999 Security Council resolution imposing an asset freeze and travel ban on individual Taliban and Al Qaeda members.)  The British official said that this move can be considered to fall under the rubric of Afghan political reconciliation, which will be one of the major focuses of the London Conference this week. 

Check back for updates from the conference from our very own Una Moore. 

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