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June 06, 2011

Afghanistan Wants 50 Taliban Off UN Blacklist

The Afghan government is asking the United Nations to remove 50 Taliban members from a U.N. blacklist, in an effort to promote peace talks with insurgents and end the 10-year war.

The head of the U.N. committee overseeing sanctions against al-Qaida and the Taliban said Tuesday the committee will make a decision on whether to remove some of the names in the coming weeks.

The U.N. blacklist subjects Taliban members to an asset freeze and travel ban.

Peter Wittig, who is also Germany's ambassador to the U.N, told reporters in Kabul that any changes to the list would reflect the changing political developments in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has set up a council to seek peace talks with members of the Taliban who renounce violence, accept the Afghan constitution and sever ties with al-Qaida.

There are more than 450 people on the U.N. committee's sanctions list, including roughly 140 with direct links to the Taliban.

The committee is also said to be considering a proposal to divide the list, separating out those who have links to the Taliban and those tied to al-Qaida, rather than treating them as one.

Separately, police say the head of the provincial council in central Bamiyan province was abducted and killed. Jawad Zahak's body was found Tuesday near a main road running through neighboring Parwan province. He was abducted on Friday.

The relatively peaceful Bamiyan province is slated to be one of seven areas to transition from foreign to Afghan security control in July of this year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.