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Thursday, 26 July, 2001, 22:58 GMT 23:58 UK
UN to tighten Afghan sanctions
Taleban fighters sitting on a tank
The UN wants to stop the Taleban buying weapons
By UN correspondent Greg Barrow

The United Nations Security Council is finalising the details of a new resolution designed to tighten the monitoring and enforcement of UN sanctions against the Taleban authorities in Afghanistan.

The resolution calls for the establishment of a five-member sanctions monitoring team at UN headquarters in New York, and a sanctions enforcement team of up to 15 people to be deployed in the border regions of countries neighbouring Afghanistan.

The new resolution is designed to improve the effectiveness of the arms embargo already imposed on the Taleban.

Afghan women
Human rights groups are concerned by events in Afghanistan
This new Security Council resolution is being considered in the light of widespread reports that UN sanctions against the Taleban authorities are being abused.

Although the Security Council has been at pains to avoid accusing Pakistan of openly flouting the arms embargo against the Taleban, diplomats admit privately that the Pakistani authorities may well be guilty of turning a blind eye to weapons trading across their long border with Afghanistan.

Pakistan disagrees

For its part, Pakistan has always insisted that although it disagrees with the sanctions regime in principle, as a UN member state it has upheld its obligation to observe the weapons embargo.

The new resolution seeks to introduce measures designed to monitor abuse of the sanctions regime.

Buddhist statues at Bamiyan, Afghanistan
The Taleban destroyed Buddhist statues in March
The biggest challenge the proposed field team will face is how to police traffic across a border that runs for more than 5,000 km (3,125 miles) through some of the most rugged terrain in the world.

The new resolution comes amidst continuing criticism of the current sanctions regime.

Human rights groups say the sanctions are making life for Afghan civilians unbearable, while some have called for a more comprehensive sanctions policy that would prevent the flow of arms to the Taleban's opponents as well.

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See also:

24 May 01 | South Asia
UN steps up pressure on Taleban
24 May 01 | South Asia
Taleban's Hindu tagging condemned
17 May 01 | South Asia
'Liberty' for Afghan women
26 Mar 01 | South Asia
Reporters see wrecked Buddhas
16 May 01 | South Asia
Prime time in Afghanistan
20 Dec 00 | South Asia
Analysis: Who are the Taleban?
11 Jun 01 | South Asia
Timeline: Afghanistan
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