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UN Drops Sanctions On Ex-Taliban Leaders

From a joyous Associated Press:

Taliban: Terrorist or not? Not always easy to say

By Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press Writer

February 2, 2010

WASHINGTON – Once considered so entwined that they were twin targets of a U.S. invasion, al-Qaida and elements of Afghanistan’s Taliban are now being surgically separated — one careful stitch at a time.

The move by the United Nations last week to remove five former Taliban members from its official sanctions list reflects a growing belief by U.S. and international officials that some less-active leaders of the Afghan Taliban are no longer tightly linked to the al-Qaida network they sheltered before the terror attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

Even if these five gentlemen are only "former" leaders of the Taliban, what is the rush to lift sanctions on them? Why reward them?

The decision anchors an Obama administration policy shift that would transform the Afghanistan war from a broad international conflict into an internal political struggle largely handled by the Afghans themselves.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the war against terrorism is an international war on many fronts. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it is something that can be handled by the locals.

Key to that change would be an effort to negotiate with and buy out midlevel Taliban figures willing to renounce violence and abandon their fight.

And "buying out" is not to be confused with paying off. After all, we are the nation of "millions for defense, but not one penny for tribute."

But in paring back some of the Taliban’s connections to al-Qaida, the move risks running up against the American public’s ingrained perception that the Afghan faction remains a national enemy and that there is no ideological daylight between the two groups.

Once again it’s the stupid American public who are holding back out brilliant leader. They are just too unenlightened to see how giving terrorists millions to leave us alone doesn’t mean that the terrorists win.

A few other Taliban figures have been dropped from the target list in recent years, but the latest round signals a more comprehensive approach. Any large-scale tinkering with the U.N. target list would have a tangible impact on American counterterror moves: The U.S. typically has a strong behind-the-scenes role in the U.N.’s decision and the U.N. list is often used by the U.S. to identify its own targets for diplomatic and economic punishments.

U.S. officials are quick to say that the decoupling is limited and proceeding carefully. Some Taliban leaders, they say, may never come off the list — such as Mullah Mohammed Omar or the leaders of the Haqqani network, which directs the fight against U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan from the Waziristan tribal region in Pakistan.

Gosh these US officials are tough. Insisting on still calling Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban, a terrorist.

Even Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has endorsed the reconciliation plan as essential to success in the Afghanistan war, warns of the complexities involved in separating the two militant groups.

We sure are hearing a lot about “complexities” of late.

Gates ticked off "a syndicate of terrorist groups" on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border, including al-Qaida, Afghan and Pakistan Taliban and a number of Pakistani groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba.

"So you can’t say one’s good and one’s not good," he said recently. "They’re all insidious, and safe havens for all of them need to be eliminated."

The U.N. Security Council first imposed sanctions against the Taliban in November 1999 for refusing to send Osama bin Laden to stand trial on terrorism charges in connection with two 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa.

Those sanctions — a travel ban, arms embargo and assets freeze — were later extended to al-Qaida, and in January 2001, the U.N. assembled its first target list of 10 al-Qaida leaders and 74 top Taliban officials. The list has grown to 268 al-Qaida and 137 Taliban figures — and is largely replicated in a similar list used by the State and Treasury Departments to pinpoint terror targets.

Once again we stand in awe of the power of UN sanctions. Look at how they have broken the back of the Taliban and Al Qaeda over the last eleven years.

The U.N. decision — approved by all 15 members of the Security Council — came last week after Russia dropped an objection.

The driving concern of those opposing the move focuses on what would happen if the Taliban are allowed to regain any power in Afghanistan. Opponents fear that al-Qaida, including its leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, who are believed hiding along the Pakistan border, would be welcomed back.

What petty concerns.

After all, it’s not like we have fought a nine year war and spent the lives of our soldiers and vast fortunes of our treasury to kick both the Taliban and Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan.

Richard Barrett, the head of a U.N. group that monitors the threat posed by al-Qaida and the Taliban and among those who back the decision to start removing Taliban leaders from the list, said that "in areas that have been under Taliban control for some time — there aren’t al-Qaida there."

Exactly what difference does it make whether there are Al Qaeda there or not? This is a distinction without a difference. There are terrorists there.

The Taliban still throw acid on young girls and burn down their schools. They still kill US soldiers.

Removing the names of former Taliban leaders from the sanctions list would provide them with significant benefits. The sanctions bar their travel to other countries and freezes their financial assets, making it impossible for them to conduct business overseas.

Lifting financial sanctions on Taliban leaders "may well serve as a conduit for acquisition of funds, economic resources and weapons for the Taliban," warned retired U.S. diplomat Victor Comras, who was one of five international monitors who oversaw the implementation of U.S. Security Council terrorism financing measures in 2002.

Being retired, Mr. Comras is free to speak the obvious truth.

Several of the Taliban members dropped from the list last week were senior leaders. Among them were Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, a former foreign minister and Mullah Omar confidant who has recently been involved in helping negotiations, and Abdul Hakim Monib, a former deputy minister of frontier affairs who later renounced the Taliban and became a provincial governor.


These former high-ranking leaders are undoubtedly well-placed to buy the arms and negotiate for any funds that the Taliban might need.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “UN Drops Sanctions On Ex-Taliban Leaders”

  1. Helena says:

    “Gates ticked off “a syndicate of terrorist groups” on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border, including al-Qaida, Afghan and Pakistan Taliban and a number of Pakistani groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba.

    “So you can’t say one’s good and one’s not good,” he said recently. “They’re all insidious, and safe havens for all of them need to be eliminated.””

    So true. Here’s a report today from ABC news about these “insidious” groups and their constant linkage, about the CIA bomber:

    Al-Balawi turned out to be a double-agent — perhaps even a triple-agent. In the 1 1/2 minute video, the bomber said he attacked the CIA to avenge the death of Baitullah Mehsud, the longtime leader of the Pakistani Taliban who was killed in August.

    “This jihadi attack will be the first revenge operation against the Americans and their drone teams outside the Pakistan border,” the bomber said on the video. Al-Balawi ….. said the Pakistani Taliban ….. would fight till victory

    …. Statements by Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida leaders since the attack have confused efforts to figure out which group’s fingerprints were on the blast that struck a blow to the CIA’s field expertise in Afghanistan.

    A senior militant with the Pakistani Taliban told AP the suicide bomber received training from Qari Hussain, a leading commander of the Pakistani Taliban believed to have run suicide bombing camps. ….said al-Qaida and the Haqqani network, a highly independent Afghan Taliban faction, also were involved

    Hussain’s Lashkar-e-Janghvi group, a violent anti-Shiite Muslim organization, is believed to provide a reservoir of suicide bombers and has been linked to some of the more spectacular bombings in Pakistan and the death of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

    Arsala Rahmani — a former minister in the Taliban government that was toppled in the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — said the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban and al-Qaida often work in unison against Western forces.

    “Most of the time, the Afghan Taliban, Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaida … they are fighting together,” said Rahmani.

    Video Links Pakistan Taliban to Deadly CIA Bombing – ABC News

  2. proreason says:

    There ya go.

    Just like most of the prisoners locked up by imperialist white people in the US, many Taliban are really loving, exemplary citizens who have simply been driven to their psychopathic, sadistic, humanity-hating, sexist, racist cruelties by difficult childhoods and being forced to eat at McDonalds.

    • tranquil.night says:

      Ever since American medical recognition of psychological illnesses like depression, ADD, etc, spread to Europe and the rest of the world, there’s been nothing short of an epidemal outbreak in all cases. There’s always pragmatic solutions to wars like this that aren’t ideological, but at a certain point you can’t keep giving people excuses to not be held accountable for their actions; why this has to be noted with our enemies of all people is still perplexing.

      We’re quickly heading from looking weak to spineless and defeated.

    • canary says:

      tranquil, I’ve been thinking along those lines too. Wondered if Afgan’s corrupt president is sprinkling dust that affects the brain. Even though the Taliban have repeatedly said they will no lay down arms from the money bribe of Brown, Hillary, and other countries leaders, they continue to discuss it for day now. They need to get Afgans out there, shut the doors and let the leaders detox from whatever nerve agent they’ve been exposed to.
      No somone started taking ADD medicine to lose weight, and it’s caused ODD. And I assume this is a side affect that explains a lot of our youth’s problem. I mean anti-depressants that make them suicidal?

  3. joeblough says:

    My eyes were playing tricks on me. I saw:

    WASHINGTON – Once considered so entwined that they were twin targets of a U.S. invasion, al-Qaida and elements of Afghanistan’s Taliban are now being surgically separated — one hairy sonofabitch at a time.

    Seriously though, the photo caption says:

    Taliban: Terrorist or not? Not always easy to say

    That is the whole point of profiling. It is in fact VERY difficult to tell peaceful mohammedans from the violent and murderous ones. The killers do not generally wear jihaddist lapel pins.

    But the phrase used “Terrorist or not” reveals the depth of AP’s ignorance and the danger we are in as a result of failing to honestly discuss and identify WHO is attacking us and why.

    Our problem is NOT terrorists. The people in the IRA and the Basque separatists haven’t bothered anybody for years.

    Our problem is jihaddis and promoters of Sharia … mohammedan supremacists..

    The people who are attacking us are mohammedan supremacists who intend to impose Sharia law on the world. Many of those are jihaddis … armed “holy warriors”, mujaheddin. Some of them are lawyers. Some are academics. Many are poliiticians.

    The fact is that some jihaddis and promoters of Sharia are terrorists, and some are not.

    Indeed, possibly even some Taliban may not be “terrorists” (although I regard that as pretty damned unlikely).

    But who gives a damn?

    I’ll tell you who.

    The people who want to make a cushy deal for themselves and their buddies with the mohammedan elites. That’s who.

    And the mohammedan elites DEMAND that their racism, superstitions, and oppressive mores be entertained. And that includes conferring respectability on some of their back-hills savages and street thugs.

  4. Mithrandir says:

    For the people that still live in the time before the Egyptians, I am sure sanctions or no sanctions means very little.

    The U.S. is alawys flabbergasted that the tried and true strategy doesn’t work with some people in the world which is:

    1. Dangle money in front of them to entice them to do what we want.

    2. Get them addicted to the money, then threaten to take it away.

    3. Step 3, put pressure on their allies to do or not do something to them.

    4. Send in the tanks.

    5. Find out that some people are just too incorrigible and expensive to cajole. Pull out, and repeat step 1.

    Step 1 & 2 works VERY well on our own citizens and probably 80% of the rest of the world. But for the Vietnamese, and the Taliban-types….it’s not so good we have finally found out.

  5. canary says:

    As an American woman, if a male muslim gives me a dirty look, even if I smile, I figure that means they take it the wrong way, as women get their heads cut off for smiling at a man. And anytime I see one in traditional garb, I always jump a bit, and don’t take my eyes off them, looking for anything bulky under the robes or suspicious behavior. Just this week alone, there were two major female suicide bombers that killed alot, and we were notified just a week or prior there would be a surge in women suicide bombers.

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