UN approves travel ban exemptions for Taliban leaders to perform hajj

The United Nations Security Council Committee has approved travel ban exemptions for four senior Taliban leaders.

The exemptions will allow Taliban deputy chief Abdul Kabir, Taliban intelligence chief Abdul-Haq Wassiq, Taliban hajj minister Noor Mohammad Saqib and Taliban interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani to visit Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to perform Hajj.

The decision, announced on June 5, enables these individuals, who are otherwise subject to international travel bans, to undertake the pilgrimage.

Abdul Kabir, Abdul-Haq Wassiq, Noor Mohammad Saqib, and Sirajuddin Haqqani are prominent figures within the Taliban, each holding key positions within the group’s leadership structure.

The Security Council’s resolution 1988 (2011) places various sanctions on individuals and entities associated with the Taliban, aiming to support peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and a significant religious duty for Muslims who are physically and financially able to undertake the journey.

The U.N. Security Council’s decision underscores the complexity of international diplomatic efforts involving the Taliban, reflecting the ongoing challenges and negotiations in addressing the situation in Afghanistan.

This comes as Sirajuddin Haqqani visited United Arab Emirates this week, meeting with UAE officials including Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.