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UN Permits Afghan Airline to Resume Flying - 2002-01-15

Now that the Taleban is no longer in control in Afghanistan the United Nations Security Council has decided to lift a ban on that country's national airline. The United Nations is expected to loosen its overall sanctions program for Afghanistan, possibly later this week.

In December 1999 the U.N. blocked all international commercial flights into and out of Afghanistan by Ariana Airlines. The following year overall sanctions were tightened in order to pressure the Taleban into turning over Osma bin Laden, who is wanted by the U.S. government in connection with the bombings at the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Now, because an interim government has been established in Kabul, the Security Council has lifted the airline sanction against Ariana Afghan Airlines. It is now once again authorized to return to the air.

Security Council President Jagdish Koonjul said it is time to begin lifting the sanctions. "This is a way to send the right message, the right signal to the Afghani people that the Security Council will be with the Afghan population once there is... the Taleban and the al-Qaida and all have been chased away from Afghanistan. Of course, in the future we hope to be having a more comprehensive resolution," he said.

Mr. Koonjul added that a vote on lifting broader sanctions will be held by the Security Council as soon as possible.

Several reports suggest that could be concluded by the end of the week.