THE United Nations is reviewing an international terrorist blacklist that could lead to the lifting of travel restrictions and asset freezes on some key Taliban and al-Qaeda figures.
Delegates to a national conference, or peace jirga, held in Kabul this month called on the government and its international partners to remove some of the 137 people from the list - a long-standing demand of the Taliban.
''Delisting was one of the clear messages coming from the peace jirga,'' said Staffan de Mistura, the UN representative in Afghanistan.
He said a 27-member delegation from the UN Security Council's al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctions committee was in Kabul on a three-day visit to study the composition of the terrorist blacklist and make recommendations to the Security Council about possible changes.
''Delisting was one of the clear messages coming from the peace jirga,'' Mr de Mistura said.
''The UN is listening to what the peace jirga is saying. Some of the people in the list may not be alive any more. The list may be completely outdated.''
The US, Britain and France, who maintain troops here, wield veto power on the Security Council and would have to agree to changes on the list.
''If we want the peace jirga to produce results, we need to keep momentum,'' Mr de Mistura said.
Since 1999, Security Council Resolution 1267 has blacklisted 142 Taliban figures as well as 360 others with ties to al-Qaeda, ordering their bank accounts seized and prohibiting them from crossing international borders.
The presence of Taliban leaders on the list has been a sticking point in efforts to start peace talks, but attempts to remove any have foundered because of opposition from Security Council members.
In January, five Taliban insurgents were delisted before the London conference on Afghanistan, leaving 137 still blacklisted.
US officials have argued for removal from the blacklist case by case. Russia and China have also objected to a broad delisting. Now, a UN official said, there was a real possibility of removing several names.
NEW YORK TIMES, AP