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Afghanistan president announces removal of Taliban officials from UN blacklist

The Afghan Office of the President [official website] announced Tuesday that the UN will gradually begin to remove Taliban officials who have renounced al Qaeda from the organization's blacklist [JURIST news archive]. The blacklist freezes assets and limits travel of senior figures linked to the Taliban. The announcement followed a meeting in Kabul [UN News Centre report] between diplomats from the UN Security Council [official website] and President Hamid Karzai [official profile] to review progress made by the Afghan government. Following a national peace summit [press release] held in Afghanistan earlier this month, Karzai called for a review of the UN blacklist, as Taliban members began to take a more active role in the Afghan parliament and diplomatic relations. The Security Council delegates agreed to remove Taliban members from the list "gradually" [Reuters report], provided the members had no links to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups.

Afghanistan's national peace summit held earlier this month was aimed at ending the nine-year insurgency in Afghanistan [JURIST news archive] and bringing peace to the country. Two days after the summit, Karzai announced the creation of a commission to review the cases of all suspected Taliban militants [JURIST report] currently being held in custody. Suspects that are being held without sufficient evidence will immediately be released. Karzai's announcement was the first step toward achieving the goals set at the conclusion of the summit [press release], which included implementing a framework to negotiate with disaffected members of the country, ending corruption in the government and creating a national government valuing the input of all citizens. While the resolution called for the release of all prisoners being held in the country without sufficient evidence, it is unclear whether the new commission will examine the cases of suspects currently in US custody.

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