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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UN Eyes Taliban Sanctions

UNITED NATIONS — The United States and Russia were expected to push through a jointly drafted Security Council resolution Tuesday to impose tighter sanctions on the Taliban.

The sanctions include an arms embargo on the Taliban and a travel ban on its senior leaders, a flight ban into their territory and new measures to further freeze their assets. The sanctions will go into effect in 30 days and last for a year unless Taliban authorities close "terrorist" camps allegedly training Chechen rebels and deliver Saudi exile Osama bin Laden for trial in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

China and Malaysia were expected to abstain from the vote, concerned that tougher sanctions will hurt a country that has been at war for two decades.

But no other countries have threatened the resolution's passage since opposition would amount to support for the Taliban, which has imposed a strict brand of Islam in Afghanistan.

Diplomats have suggested that the benefits to the United States and Russia of promoting a joint initiative such as new Taliban sanctions, when they are so deeply divided over other high-profile matters — such as Iraq, Kosovo and U.S. plans for a national missile defense — go far beyond the resolution's stated goals of combating terrorism.

"This may need to happen before cooperation on other sanctions issues happens," said George Lopez, an expert on UN sanctions and the director of policy studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

The Taliban sanctions, he said, are really about both countries "looking down the road and knowing Iraq is looming," and knowing they must try to forge some new agreement to salvage the … Iraqi sanctions regime.