ISLAMABAD As the United Nations Organisation seeks to drop some Taliban leaders from terrorists list, sources said Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, Abdul Salim Zaeef and Gulbuddin Hikmatyar were among those expected to be cleared.
As the UNO agreed to de-list some of influential Taliban figures from existing terrorists list, Karzai and NATO officials are considering names of a number of key Taliban leaders including 39-years-old Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil who served as Foreign Minister in Taliban regime, Talibans former Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salim Zaeef and former Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Afghanistan Justice Fazel Hadi Shinwari, to be dropped from existing list of terrorists, well-informed diplomatic sources told 'TheNation on Monday.
These diplomatic sources also said Gulbuddin Hikmatyar might be one of them. Another source revealed that Maulvi Khirullah Khairkhwa and Abdul Hai Mutmaen were also among the list.
However, an Islamabad-based official source denied possibility of these two being in the list of those who might be cleared by the UNO. Abdul Hai Mutmaen is still very close to Mullah Omer while Khirullah (former Information Minister in Taliban regime) was involved in killing of an Iranian diplomat in 1998. How can the UNO drop their names from the list of terrorist, the official source wondered.
According to information gathered from two types of sources (Islamabad and Kabul-based), Karzai government and NATO officials have so far listed seven Taliban leaders whose names would be proposed to the UNO in this regard including three whose names are mentioned above.
Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil was the last Foreign Minister in the Taliban regime. He also served as spokesman and secretary to Mullah Mohammed Omar. After the Northern Alliance accompanied by US and British forces ousted the regime, Muttawakil surrendered in Kandahar to government troops in February 2002.
On July 4, 2005 Muttawakil completed the three years after his surrender in US detention and under Afghan house arrest.
Following the end of his house arrest, Muttawakil took positions at odds with those of the former Taliban regime.
It is pertinent to note that, Muttawakil was stated to be the first one who said that supporting Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda had brought suffering to Afghanistan.
It is worth mentioning here that Taliban disowned Muttawakil on October 21, 2003.
In the month of Ramazan 2008, the sources said the these three Taliban leaders including Mutawakil, former Taliban Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salem Zaeef and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Fazel Hadi Shinwari held meetings with Saudi King Abdullah who attempted to broker peace talks between the warring parties from Afghanistan.
The Saudi government did not confirm this meeting, however, Zaeef acknowledged being invited by Saudi King Abdullah to dine with other leading Afghan figures, from the Karzai government, the Taliban, Gulbuddin Hekmatyars Hezb-e-Islami and other former members of the Taliban.
Keeping in view their dissociation with Al Qaeda, US and Karzai government have decided to propose the UN to drop their names from 'Blacklist, sources said. However this correspondent could not confirm this from any official on the record.
Till compiling of this story, this correspondent could not confirm whether Pakistan was being taken into confidence or not regarding this development.