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UN Removes Five Senior Taliban From Sanctions List

Former Taliban foreign minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil is among those de-listed.
UNITED NATIONS -- A United Nations Security Council committee has removed five former senior Taliban members from its list of individuals facing sanctions over their links to the Al-Qaeda terrorist group.

The move has been sought by Afghan President Hamid Karzai as part of a bid to reach out to insurgents and promote Afghan reconciliation.

The UN said in a statement that the decision was made on January 25 and the five would no longer be subject to international travel bans and asset freezes.

The five include former Taliban foreign minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, former deputy minister of commerce Fazal Mohammad, former Taliban press officer Shams-us-Safa Aminzai, and former deputy minister of planning Mohammad Musa Hottak.

The UN said the fifth, former deputy minister of frontier affairs Abdul Hakim, had renounced the Taliban three years ago.

The five were put on the UN sanctions list in 2001. There was no indication in the UN statement that the five had recently been involved in the insurgency against the Afghan government and NATO forces.

The UN move comes ahead of a January 28, 60-country conference in London that is expected to discuss moves to reintegrate into mainstream Afghan society Taliban who renounce terrorism and armed conflict, and to discuss a framework for handing over security to Afghan forces.

compiled from agency reports