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UN Removes 5 Taliban from Sanctions List, 2 Already Dead, Gul File Follies

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 30, updated -- The UN's Al Qaeda / Taliban sanctions committee is removing five names from its list today, as blocks against their removal have been lifted just before an end of July deadline. The five now delisted Taliban -- two of them dead -- are:

1) Abdul Satar Paktin (TI.P.35.01.)

2) Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad Awrang (TI.M.116.01.) (Former Ambassador to UN)

3) Abdul Salam Zaeef (TI.Z.62.01.) (Author: My life with the Taliban)

4) Abdul Samad Khaksar (TI.K.54.01.) (deceased)

5) Muhammad Islam Mohammadi (TI.M.90.01.) (deceased)

The mission to the UN of Austria, which chairs the Committee, has said that the names will be removed from the Committee's web site at noon on July 30, and that further information will be available at a press conference on August 2.

Inner City Press has asked the UN and the Austrian mission about attempts to place on the Taliban sanctions list former and perhaps current Pakistani army figure Hamid Gul, who appears in one of the WikeLeaks documents as plotting with Taliban to kidnap UN officials on the road from Kabul to Jalalabad.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky replied that the UN Department of Safety and Security is reviewing the documents.

Bamiyan, some Taliban handiwork, Gul file not shown

   But UN DSS, to its highest levels, has appeared to prioritize politics and “cultural sensitivity” to following up on threats and even deadly attacks on UN system personnel, for example the murder of DSS officer Louis Maxwell by Afghan national forces, for which no one has been held accountable.

Inner City Press asked the Austrian mission about Gul and was told that they "didn't have a formal request in our time and IF there has been a request, it could only have been an informal before our Chairmanship.. check with the Belgium mission." Those on the sanction list have their files kept in the Mission offices of the committee chair, to some a strange practice. But those with only informal requests, have their files kept by the UN's secretariat of the Committee. Watch this site.

* * *

As UN Council Moves to De-List Taliban for Karzai, Louis Maxwell Probe Stalled

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 28 -- When the UN Security Council was in Afghanistan last week, Hamid Karzai announced that they had committed to remove people from the Al Qaeda / Taliban sanctions list of the 1267 Committee. On Monday at the UN in New York, Inner City Press asked this month's Council president, Claude Heller of Mexico:

Inner City Press: When you were in Afghanistan, did the government of Hamid Karzai stressed particular names to the Council [inaudible] mediating between the authorities of Afghanistan and the Taliban. Were particular names discussed [inaudible] removed from the list?

CH: I think it’s important to say that the Sanctions committee, all of the sanctions committees, are touching very sensitive issues, but of course they do it on a confidential basis. The fact that the chairman of the sanctions committee was in Afghanistan was an opportunity that he had to be in touch with the authorities. President Karzai publicly mentioned this issue, and the willingness of his government to cooperate with the sanctions committee.

After Heller's polite dodging of the question, the chairman of the 1267 committee Thomas Mayr-Harting came to speak with the Press, on the record but off camera. Inner City Press asked, if the standard to remove a Taliban is that they are not in contact with Al Qaeda, how the Karzai government can make this negative proof.

Mayr-Harting said that his Committee in the past has applied four tests: renunciation of violence, laying down of arms, no contact with Al Qaeda and accepting the Afghan constitution. He said that Afghanistan's specialized services should be able to provide information about accepting the constitution -- some of the list are members of parliament -- and perhaps about contacts with Al Qaeda.

UNAMA, UNSC members, action on Louis Maxwell not shown

He said he is hoping to remove dead people from the list, and that the Afghans can help by providing proof of death. But that's not the group of people of most concern to Karzai.

It is not clear whether during the Council's visit any member raised the killing of UN staff member Louis Maxwell by Afghan National Forces, as described in a UN Board of Inquiry report that calls on the Karzai government to further investigated. It appears that no Afghan investigation has been done or even begun. Some think that should be a condition for removing Karzai's friends from the sanctions list. We'll see.

And see cell phone video, here, esp. at Minute 1:01 to 1:04

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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