16 Jul 2011

Taliban names removed from UN blacklist

9:22 pm on 16 July 2011

The United Nations Security Council has removed 14 former Afghan Taliban leaders from an international blacklist, at the request of the government in Kabul.

They include four members of a peace council set up by the Afghan government last September to pave the way for talks.

Following Friday's decision, 123 names remain on the Taliban sanctions list that imposes travel bans and asset freezes.

The sanctions were imposed in 1999, when the Taliban were in power, and were expanded after the 9/11 attacks on the US.

The BBC reports tht the Afghan government had been pushing for more people to be taken off the UN blacklist and had supplied considerable documentation to show they had given up violence.

The removal of the names is part of an ongoing process of reaching out to the Taliban to try to find a political solution to the insurgency.

The Security Council said the delisting of the names sent out a strong signal of support for the Afghan government's reconciliation efforts.

US troop withdrawl underway

The United States has begun withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan. Some 650 soldiers left two military bases on Wednesday and will not be replaced.

The ABC reports 650 soldiers left two military bases there on Wednesday.

NATO said they had completed their rotation in Afghanistan and left as scheduled. They will not be replaced.

Some 10,000 troops will leave by the end of the year.

Afghan security forces are to take over security responsibility from foreign forces in seven areas this summer.