How to reduce the terrorist threat: use the label “terrorist” less often.
A week ago Newsweek reported:
Even as they denounce reports of covert talks from news sources such as the New York Times and Al-Jazeera, high-ranking insurgents have begun very cautiously admitting for the first time that peace negotiations are not totally out of the question. “The Taliban will decide about an option other than war when the time comes that would favor such a decision,” says one senior Taliban provincial governor.
Washington is eager to make that happen — perhaps more eager than most Americans realize. “There was a major policy shift that went completely unreported in the last three months,” a senior administration official tells Newsweek, asking not to be named speaking on sensitive issues. “We’re going to support Afghan-led reconciliation [with the Taliban].” U.S. officials have quietly dropped the Bush administration’s resistance to talks with senior Taliban and are doing whatever they can to help Karzai open talks with the insurgents, although they still say any Taliban willing to negotiate must renounce violence, reject Al Qaeda, and accept the Afghan Constitution. (Some observers predict that those preconditions may eventually be fudged into goals.) One particular focus is the “1267 list,” which was established in 1999 by the U.N.’s Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee. It takes its name from U.N. Security Council Resolution 1267. “There are 137 Taliban on the list,” says the senior administration official. “It’s a list of people who cannot travel, cannot have funds…We’re taking a very hard look at the 1267 list right now, looking at it on a case-by-case basis. We’ve been doing it for months.”
The Washington Post today reports:
Afghan President Hamid Karzai plans to seek the removal of up to 50 former Taliban officials from a U.N. terrorism blacklist — more than a quarter of those on the list — in a gesture intended to advance political reconciliation talks with insurgents, according to a senior Afghan official.
The Afghan government has sought for years to delist former Taliban figures who it says have cut ties with the Islamist movement. But the campaign to cull names from the list, which imposes a travel ban and other restrictions on 137 individuals tied to the Taliban, has taken on renewed urgency in recent weeks as Karzai has begun to press for a political settlement to Afghanistan’s nearly nine-year-old conflict.