UN sanctions list: Selective delisting of Taliban raises eyebrows in Pakistan

Published: October 18, 2012
New criterion for delisting suits Afghan govt, says Pakistani official. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

New criterion for delisting suits Afghan govt, says Pakistani official. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE


Despite all exhortations of “mutual cooperation,” a common enemy that transcends borders can be tricky; or so Islamabad feels when it comes to its relations with Kabul, over the Taliban.

Pakistan is wary of the Afghan influence over the process of lifting of sanctions against Taliban leaders by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), according to a highly placed source familiar with the issue.

Pakistan raised its eyebrows when it realised that Kabul has been assigned a central role by the UNSC Taliban committee in the listing and delisting process, with a new criterion that suited the Afghan government, the source added. Removing an individual from the list requires unanimous support from the Security Council.

“Pakistan is concerned that it will appear as the only villain in the proceedings of the Taliban committee,” the source said.

“On the recommendation of the Afghan government, the pro-Kabul Taliban are being delisted, while the pro-Islamabad [Afghan or Pakistani] Taliban are not,” the source added.

The UNSC decided last year to split what was previously a joint list of Taliban and al Qaeda figures facing sanctions. There were 486 people on the committee’s sanctions list of whom 138 were associated with the Taliban till June 2011.

“There is a possibility of the Taliban sanction regime becoming a Pakistan-specific regime in terms of individuals and entities listed therein,” the source said.

“The Taliban who have addresses in Afghanistan are being delisted to make a point that only Pakistan-based elements are causing instability in Afghanistan. The Afghan government is likely to propose listing of Pakistan-based elements to divert the attention of the international community from its domestic issues like corruption, bad governance and narcotics trade,” the source added.

Cleaning up the list

The UNSC’s al Qaeda and Taliban sanctions committee removed 14 former Taliban members from its list in July last year, as part of a move to induct the group into talks with Kabul on a peace deal in Afghanistan.

The move came in response to a request from Kabul to take off the list a number of former Taliban figures that the Afghan government believed had given up militancy.

Afghan officials had asked the Security Council to lift sanctions against around 50 Taliban figures, including four members of the High Peace Council set up by Afghan government in 2010 to pave the way for peace talks with the Taliban.

According to some sources, the UN committee has so far delisted 22 Taliban at the request of Karzai administration.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in his address to the UN General Assembly last month demanded the UN further delist Taliban members.

“To help facilitate the peace process, I ask the UN Security Council to extend its full support to our efforts. In particular, I urge the Taliban’s Sanction Committee to take more active measures towards delisting of Taliban leaders as a step to facilitate direct negotiation,” he said.

Kabul has been seeking negotiations with the Taliban through the High Peace Council whose delegation is expected to visit Pakistan this month.

The High Peace Council has, so far, not been able to convince Afghan Taliban to join peace talks and all its previous attempts to negotiate with the armed group have failed, partly over their insistence that foreign troops leave the country first.

Edited by Gulraiz Khan

Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Ali
    Oct 18, 2012 - 10:14AM

    So they are targeting Pakistan interests. Not terrorism.


  • sabi
    Oct 18, 2012 - 10:31AM

    Eyebrows or guns


  • Usman
    Oct 18, 2012 - 11:08AM

    Imran Khan must be responsible for this.


  • Oct 18, 2012 - 11:18AM

    After a decade TTP was put on terror list and now Afghans can remove them. Amazing to see American policies are spearheaded by TTP and Unocoal executive Karzai.


  • afghanistan
    Oct 18, 2012 - 12:05PM

    “Pakistan is concerned that it will appear as the only villain in the proceedings of the Taliban committee,”: Pakistan is a real villain in the region the same as Israel, uses Islamic ideology as a tool for its interest in the region. If Pakistan claims that Taliban are in Afghanistan and there is no sanctuaries in Pakistan then why it is so wary about the sanction list of Taliban. I think the dual policy of Pakistan is no longer helping Pakistan and its time to work sincerely for the peace in the region so that both Muslim and brother nations live in the peace.


  • Anoni
    Oct 18, 2012 - 12:39PM

    Get strong at home and economically then other nation will listen to you


  • IceSoul
    Oct 18, 2012 - 1:43PM

    God step by the US and the Karzai administrationl Pakistanis must realize that the world does not revolve around them. The Pak army has always followed a policy of good Taliban – Bad Taliban and its nice to see that the others are doing the same with Pakistan.


  • BlackJack
    Oct 18, 2012 - 2:07PM

    So they are targeting Pakistan interests. Not terrorism.
    Didn’t know that there was a difference.


  • sani
    Oct 18, 2012 - 2:23PM

    @ aghanistan: I guess you should first come with an agenda as a nation. karzai and his clones are bunch of confused elite who can see beyond their noses. Afghanistan in difficulty is always directly proportional to dreadful situation in pakistan. we as a nation cannot ignore events that are in favour of 1% afghans (Karzai and group) and against the majority. Can anyone trust the afghanis? no no no, not even ur Master US is ready to trust u. At least we care..


  • Sexton Blake
    Oct 18, 2012 - 3:15PM

    We will never know what happens inside the higher levels of power, or what machinations ego driven people, at all levels and in all countries, get up to. I think all we can dream about is that countries such as US/NATO/Australia will eventually go home and manage their own affairs, which from what one hears are not going that well. My view on life is that the only person who will look after me is me. Similarly with countries. The only country which will look after the best interests of Pakistan is Pakistan. Certainly not the US, certainly not NATO, certainly not the UN, certainly not Australia. Just Pakistan. It may be tough at first, but I can only be repetitious by saying that Pakistan has to shake off so called foreign friends, stop spending billions of Rupees upon very expensive military equipment, build up its infrastructure, and look after itself. A little selfishness, reducing unnecessary spending, good business sense, and placing some control on corruption, could transform the country quickly. It may never happen, but a start would be good. Unfortunately, I do not think Pakistan has the right type of personnel, and they have locked Pakistan into Western financial hegemony. Of course, Pakistan may be concerned that if they attempt to escape the Western based financial system it may suffer the same fate as Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Iran who were or still are attempting to stay financially independent from the Western financial system, and of course Western ownership of all the good assets.


  • Afridi
    Oct 18, 2012 - 4:53PM

    pakistani army should stop supporting bad talibans now and should work like india through diplomatic ties. general zia ul haq is dead and pak should plan in the current situation as that is the only way out for both pak and afghan towards peace


  • Cautious
    Oct 18, 2012 - 7:42PM

    Why should you care — the UN designation of a terrorist doesn’t carry any weight in Pakistan. The bottom line is that the UN is focused on the war in Afghanistan and Kabul should be the number one player in decided who should be on the “bad guy” list. Islamabad should stick to practicing it’s “sovereignty mantra” and focus on it’s own alphabet soup of militants.


  • Cautious
    Oct 18, 2012 - 9:04PM


    Pakistan is a real villain in the
    region the same as Israel,

    Israel has it’s own set of problems but it doesn’t sell sell nuke technology, provide sanctuary to terrorist who attack it’s neighbors, and it’s minorities are not escaping to neighboring countries to avoid persecution. Israel maybe the target of international criticism but still ranks far above Pakistan which is ranked lower than N Korea in the latest international polling.


  • Sexton Blake
    Oct 19, 2012 - 1:18PM

    Dear Cautious,
    Why do you get it wrong so often? In your latest missive you say: “Israel has it’s own set of problems, but”. Would you like me to spell out all the brutality, terrorism and horrendous activities Israel gets up to? I know that “but and brutality” look the same. However, there is a world of difference, and when I have the time to describe what war crimes are, in a way you may understand, I will write a longer article. Perhaps two or three thousand words will suffice?


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