UN makes it easier for blacklisted Taliban militants to travel outside for peace talks
The United Nations Security Council has made it easier for blacklisted Taliban militants to get an exemption to travel outside of Afghanistan for peace and reconciliation talks.
According to The Dawn, there are 132 individuals and four entities on the UN Security Council's sanctions list. Some diplomats hope the flexibility to grant travel exemptions will help induce moves toward peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, the paper said.
The resolution "invites the government of Afghanistan, in close coordination with the High Peace Council, to submit for the committee's consideration the names of listed individuals for whom it confirms travel to such specified location or locations is necessary to participate in meetings in support of peace and reconciliation."
The Security Council's sanctions committee will require the passport or travel document number of the person traveling, the specific location to which they are expected to travel and the period of time - which cannot exceed nine months - during which they are expected to travel.
Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the travel ban exemption is "more effective and more flexible so it can serve the purposes of the peace and reconciliation process that is going to be so important over the next two years in Afghanistan."
"It does that while sustaining proper oversight for the committee and it also sets the framework for closer cooperation between the Afghan Government and sanctions committee," Grant added.
France said that officials from the Afghan government, the Taliban movement and other factions would meet this week near Paris to discuss the country's future. Foreign troops have started handing over security control to Afghan soldiers and police, a process due to be completed by the end of 2014.