A viral claim on social media stating the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), under India's presidency, has "removed" the Taliban from its terror list, is false as the UNSC does not maintain such a list. The claim is viral as India's ambassador to Qatar held talks with a top Taliban leader, recently.
BOOM found that the UNSC maintains a sanctions lists under various sanction mandates against individuals and entities. However, this list is unlike those of blacklisted or designated terrorist organisations along the lines of what the government of the United States of America, Canada or the United Kingdom maintains, among others.
BOOM also found that this claim has stemmed from an omission of the Taliban's name from a statement released by the UNSC on August 27, 2021; just after a terrorist attack near Kabul's airport.
The UNSC statement was released by the Indian Ambassador to the UN, TS Tirumurti, as he was the Council President.
The claim can be seen below. The original claim is in Hindi.
संयुक्त राष्ट्र सुरक्षा परिषद ने तालिबान को आतंकवादी संगठनों की लिस्ट से बाहर कर दिया है।
और हां, संयुक्त राष्ट्र सुरक्षा परिषद की अध्यक्षता भारत के पास है, और भारत में 56 इंच की सरकार है।
UNSC has removed the Taliban from the list of terrorist organisations.
Also, the Presidency of the UNSC is with India, where there is the government of "56 inch" (Narendra Modi)
The tweets can be seen below.
1. Does the UN maintain a list of terrorist organisations?
However, it does maintain a list of entities and individual against whom or which the UNSC has imposed sanctions under various mandates. Such committees include North Korea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Mali and South Sudan.
The UNSC authorised a sanctions committee in 1999 (under resolution 1267) against the Taliban, the Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden in 1999, which were further strengthened and enhanced upon subsequently numerous times, including in December 2000 and January 2003. This later also encompassed the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] (Da'esh) in 2015.
The annual reports of the sanctions committee is available since 1999. The list it maintains had 262 individuals and 89 entities on the list, as of end 2020.
UNSC sanctions are considered to be binding on countries, and these sanctions against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda required countries to take steps like freezing assets and funding, ceasing arms trade, travel bans on Taliban personnel and prohibition on landing of aircraft operated by such groups.
Further, several Taliban persons such as Abdul Ghani Baradar are also sanctioned.
BOOM has reached out to the UNSC for a comment on these lists, and this story will be updated on receiving one.
2. What statement did the UNSC release that omitted the reference to the Taliban?
The UNSC released a statement on the situation in Afghanistan on August 27.
The press statement was released by India in its capacity as President of the UNSC, which it held for the calendar month of August.
Observers found this statement to be in stark contrast with another one released by the UNSC on August 16; a day after the Afghan capital of Kabul fell to the Taliban.
The August 16 statement called on all parties in Afghanistan, including the Taliban by name, neither to support terrorism abroad nor permit Afghan soil to be used to facilitate terror abroad.
"The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan to ensure the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any country, and that neither the Taliban nor any other Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any other country", said the August 16 statement.
However, the similarly worded statement on August 27 dropped the reference to the Taliban.
"The members of the Security Council reiterated the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan to ensure the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any country, and that no Afghan group or individual should support terrorists operating on the territory of any country", it said.
Observers also perceive this change in language to be the among the first signs of engagement of the world with the Taliban, as has also been widely reported in the media. In fact, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed that the Indian Ambassador to Qatar met Sher Mohammed Stanekzai of the Taliban in Doha.
However, nothing in these statements say anything about removing the Taliban from a terrorism-related list.
This is not the first time that misinformation surrounding the UN and India's presidency around it has come to the fore.
BOOM earlier debunked claims that stated that India would be the UNSC president for the first time ever this August.
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