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U.N. sanctions to tighten on Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- U.N. sanctions against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban are to take effect Friday. They are aimed at forcing Afghanistan's ruling Taliban to expel Osama bin Laden and close what the United Nations says are terrorist training camps.
The sanctions -- which the U.N. said are targeted specifically at the Taliban and not the people of Afghanistan -- call for a ban on arm sales to the Taliban, the freezing of bin Laden's and the Taliban's bank accounts and the closing of international offices of the Taliban's national Ariana Afghan Airlines.
The Taliban has denied that it supports or otherwise trains terrorists and has refused to turn over bin Laden, who is wanted in connection with the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Humanitarian groups, the Taliban and many Afghan citizens agree that the effect of sanctions may fall, perhaps indirectly, on citizens already suffering from drought and war.
CNN Correspondent Nic Robertson, reporting from Kabul, said the mood among Afghans on the eve of the new sanctions is one of "disappointment and dismay."
Many Afghans fear the sanctions will crimp international investment while eroding confidence in the future. Many are worried about what adverse effect such measures may have on a country whose economy and infrastructure are in shambles after being wracked by 20 years of war, Robertson said.
When the sanctions were announced in December and the Taliban was given 30 days to comply, it spurred a run on the country's currency. After being devalued by about half on that development, the currency has recovered only modestly, Robertson said.
The mood surrounding the imminent round of sanctions appears less threatening than it was in 1999, Robertson said, when protests broke out and U.N. buildings were stoned as other sanctions aimed at extracting bin Laden were put in place.
The Taliban has in recent weeks been urging calm in the country in order to preserve international humanitarian aid.
U.N. staff has not been drawn down significantly and most other aid agencies appear to have their staffing at or near normal levels as the deadline for sanctions looms, Robertson said.
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