U.S., Russia Propose New Sanctions Against Taliban

By Judy Aita
Washington File United Nations Correspondent

United Nations - The United States and Russia introduced a resolution
in the Security Council December 7 that would tighten sanctions
against Afghanistan's ruling faction, the Taliban, for their failure
to comply with previous council demands to turn over indicted
terrorist Usama bin Laden.

The draft resolution builds on a resolution passed last year. That
resolution demanded that the Taliban close terrorist camps in
Afghanistan within 30 days and that bin Laden be turned over to a
country where he can be put on trial. Because the Taliban have failed
to comply with the previous resolution, the new resolution would
impose new sanctions and an arms embargo.

Bin Laden has been indicted in the United States in connection with
the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The new sanctions would ban arms sales as well as military training
and advice. They would also require nations to close Taliban offices;
close Ariana Airlines offices; freeze the assets of Usama bin Laden
and those of his organization, al-Qaida; ban all flights to
Afghanistan except those for humanitarian purposes; prohibit the sale
of the chemical used to manufacture heroin, acetic anhydride, to
Afghanistan; and restrict travel of top Taliban officials with the
exception of travel for peace negotiations, for humanitarian reasons,
or for fulfillment of religious obligations. The resolution would also
urge the three nations that recognize the Taliban--Saudi Arabia,
Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates--to reduce the staffs of the
Taliban diplomatic missions in their countries.

Resolution 1267, which was passed in October 1999, deplored the fact
that the Taliban shelter, support and train a large number of
international terrorists. It demands that the Taliban cease support of
terrorism and expel bin Laden to a country where he can be put on
trial. It imposed a flight ban on Ariana Afghan Airlines and froze the
financial assets of the Taliban. It did not prohibit trade and
commerce of the country's private sector, nor restrict the work of
humanitarian organizations providing assistance to Afghan civilians.

"We presented this draft jointly with the Russians because of our
joint concern about the failure of the Taliban to comply with Security
Council resolution 1267 of October last year," a senior U.S. official
told journalists after the draft resolution was submitted to the
Security Council.

"They have not moved in that direction at all," said the official who
spoke on the condition of anonymity. "The international community
needs to act because it does pose a threat to international peace and

The Russian permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador
Sergey Lavrov, said that "the problem is that the Taliban never
delivered on a single promise, be it to start a dialogue, be it to
stop fighting, be it to treat women and girls properly or any other
demand from the Security Council and, in particular, to stop their
support of terrorism."

U.S. officials stressed that the additional sanctions are narrowly
targeted on the Taliban and are designed to avoid hurting the Afghan

"We are very concerned about the welfare of the Afghan people," the
U.S. official said, pointing out that so far in the year 2000, the
United States has contributed more than $113 million to help the
Afghan people.

"We've tried to be very, very patient with the Taliban. Our embassies
in east Africa were hit in August 1998 ... 17 Americans and over 200
Africans were killed, over 1,000 Africans were injured in those
attacks," said another U.S. official. "The evidence we have compiled
on the individuals involved in that is extremely strong and

The official noted that after a "year of quiet diplomacy with the
Taliban between 1998 and 1999," the United States finally submitted
the draft resolution, which eventually became resolution 1267.

The U.S. officials said that if the resolution is passed, they will
not close off contact with the Taliban, but will try to keep open
lines of communication to urge them to comply with the resolutions.
They will also encourage other nations to also urge the Taliban to

The U.S. officials stressed that while the United States has other
problems with the Taliban, the resolution is strictly the result of
their policies on terrorism and their support of bin Laden.

The resolution calls for the United Nations to strictly monitor the
closure of the terrorist camps, whose locations are well-known.

(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
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