Separate and Not Equal

UN sanctions should not apply to both Al Qaeda and the Taliban, since the latter has an ‘Afghanistan-only’ agenda/geography, said Peter Wittig, the German ambassador to the United Nations who is also the chairman of the Security Council’s Sanctions Committee, during a visit to Kabul. The removal of the Taliban from the UN’s ‘blacklist’ is a necessary precondition for the group entering peace talks.

New York Times:

KABUL, Afghanistan — A top United Nations official said Tuesday that the Taliban in Afghanistan should be treated separately from Al Qaeda extremists as nations weigh sanctions against the two groups, a step that could help clear a path for negotiations with the Taliban.

Removal from the United Nations sanctions list, commonly called the blacklist, has been one of the preconditions of the Taliban for entering peace talks with the Afghan government.

Treating the Taliban separately from Al Qaeda extremists, who have a global agenda while the Taliban have an Afghan-only one, might be seen as a step toward such removal and a signal that the Taliban were seen as a group that could be negotiated with.

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