24 Taliban negotiators may be taken off UN terror list as part of Afghan peace process
Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States have identified nearly 24 potential Taliban negotiators who are likely to be removed from the United Nations terror-list in a move that seeks to encourage insurgents to join the peace process.
Last week Pakistan had released at least 13 Taliban inmates in a major step towards a political settlement of over a decade-long conflict in Afghanistan, reports The Express Tribune.
According to official sources, the three countries have finalised the list of Taliban members for removal from the UN sanctions list. Names of these Taliban leaders have not been made public due to security reasons.
More than 100 Taliban members were blacklisted for having ties with the Al-Qaeda, which had been accused of masterminding the 9/11 attacks in the US.
In early 2010, at least 15 of those Taliban cadres were removed from the list at the request of the Afghan government because they had either severed their links with the Taliban or had joined the Karzai administration.
But the latest efforts to remove more names are aimed at sending a message to the Taliban that all stakeholders are serious for peace negotiations.
Pakistan also expects the US to free certain Taliban leaders from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in a bid to help revive the process.
"The ball is now in their court (Afghanistan and United States). Our understanding is that some positive movement is expected between the Taliban and the Americans on the issue of prisoners," said a Pakistani official adding that Islamabad had played its part and now it was up to Kabul and Washington to take this initiative forward.