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Karzai calls for UN to cut Taliban black list

By Emma Thelwell

Updated on 12 July 2010

As the Afghan president calls for 50 former Taliban members to be removed from a UN black list, Adam Holloway MP tells Channel 4 News it is a positive step towards talks with the group and ending the "blind fight" in Afghanistan.

Fighting in Afghanistan: President Karzai plans to ask the UN to remove some ex-Taliban members from a black list (Image: Getty)

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan plans to ask the United Nations to remove around a quarter of the 137 ex-Taliban officials from a sanction list, according to The Washington Post.

Those on the list, under UN Security Council Resolution 1267, have their assets frozen and travel movements restricted.

A senior Afghan official told the newspaper that Karzai will ask the UN to "remove all those Taliban who are not part of al-Qaida and are not terrorists".

Mr Holloway, a former Grenadier Guards Officer who served in the Gulf War, told Channel 4 News: "Not all Taliban are enemies – their goals are essentially national, not international. Taking some off the list makes a lot of sense - to want to talk to them but keep them on the gun-down list doesn't."

More from Channel 4 News on Afghanistan:
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Col Richard Kemp: 'Taliban will present Sangin pullout as defeat'

Mr Holloway, who has written a paper on deal-making with the Taliban 'In Blood Stepp'd So Far? Towards Realism in Afghanistan', maintains that we need to understand what is meant by the word 'Taliban'.

"Since 2006 we have been fighting blind. We need to work out exactly who we are fighting," he said.

Mr Holloway, Conservative MP for Gravesham in Kent, said we need to collect information at village level in Afghanistan.

"Deals have got to be done by competent people – we have hundreds of intelligence agents in the West who we can use. It is do-able," he added.

Richard Holbrooke, US president Barack Obama's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, met with UN officials last week to push them towards a delisting process, according to The Washington Post.

Karzai's office said last month that the UN had agreed to gradually delist Taliban figures providing that they had "no links to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups."

Mr Holloway said it was a pragmatic move towards separating the "irreconcilable loonies" from the bulk.

He said it was part of a raft of measures, including secret talks that would help to "undo the damage" that has been done – stressing that "the Taliban was not responsible for the Twin Towers".

The UN has previously demanded more evidence to show that those in question had renounced violence and severed any links with the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

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