Taliban Threaten Boycott of UN Peace Efforts over New Sanctions
Afghanistan's ruling Taliban on Sunday said they would boycott United Nations-mediated peace talks if new sanctions were imposed on the Islamic militia.
They also threatened closure of offices of the UN Special Mission for Afghanistan (UNSMA) here if the UN slapped restrictions on Taliban overseas offices.
In a statement, the Taliban regime said the UN could no longer act as a peace broker between the Afghan warring sides once additional curbs were enacted against the ruling militia.
"Therefore, if these sanctions are imposed, we will boycott the UN-mediated talks with the opposition," the statement, issued by the foreign ministry said.
"Also closure or restriction of Afghan offices abroad will cause a reciprocal action against the UNSMA offices," it said, adding that the UN humanitarian offices would not be affected.
The statement said imposition of new sanctions would mean the end of shuttle diplomacy by the Secretary General's special envoy for Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell.
The statement said the Taliban would, however, be willing to talk with the rival side led by commander Ahmad Shah Masood without UN mediation after the enforcement of the proposed sanctions.
The Taliban, harboring the terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden, will call on the Muslim world to boycott American goods if the new sanctions were imposed, the statement said.
The UN Security Council is considering further sanctions on the Taliban to force them to hand over bin Laden, indicted in the US for allegedly masterminding the 1998 US embassy twin bombings in East Africa.
The new curbs include an arms embargo only on the Taliban and not their opponents, a ban on their official trips abroad, unless for peace negotiations and religious purposes, and closure of their overseas offices.
The statement accused the UN of prolonging the Afghan war with its anti-Taliban sanctions which it said were based on the "anti-Islamic proposals of Russia and America" and were an "open challenge" to human rights – KABUL (AFP)
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