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Taliban Say UN Temporarily Lifts Sanctions On Members Of Negotiating Team

11 Apr 2019 Radio Free Europe

KABUL -- A Taliban spokesman says the UN Security Council has at least temporarily removed sanctions on members of the militant group’s negotiating team.

Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid late on April 11 told RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal and the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) that the Taliban’s negotiation team in Qatar had been informed by the Security Council that the names of Taliban figures had been removed from the sanctions list.

Mujahid did not provide details, but AIP quoted a Taliban source as saying the Security Council “has taken the decision with the consultation of its five permanent members. In the first step, the sanctions have been lifted for nine months. However, later the Taliban leadership was informed that the decision would be extended.”

The report could not independently be confirmed, and neither the UN nor permanent members of the Security Council have commented on the report.

Many members of the 14-man Taliban team negotiating with the U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, are on a UN sanctions list.

Khalilzad has been meeting with Taliban negotiators in Qatar in an effort to bring an end to the 18-year war in Afghanistan.

In February, the Taliban called off a planned round of peace talks in Pakistan, saying that most of the members of the negotiating team were unable to travel because they were subject to U.S. and UN sanctions.

The Afghan government had angrily protested the planned discussions in Pakistan, saying the meeting “constitutes a violation of the national sovereignty of Afghanistan.”

The Kabul government said the meeting would amount to the official recognition and legitimization of an armed-group that poses a serious threat to the security and stability of Afghanistan, and whose members are sanctioned by provisions of the UN Security Council's 1988 Committee’s Sanctions Regime.”

The United States, which is a Security Council permanent member, also has similar sanctions on Taliban individuals.

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