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EU arms embargo on Afghanistan

In December 1996, following discussions in the framework of the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls on Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, the EU Council of Ministers agreed a Common Position 96/746/CFSP regarding an arms embargo on Afghanistan.

The members of the European Union have not always taken a common view on which items are subject to an agreed arms embargo. In this case, however, the EU member states also agreed on a common interpretation of the scope of the embargo, which was to cover:

'weapons designed to kill and their ammunition, weapons, platforms, non-weapons platforms and ancillary equipment as indicated in the EC embargo list of 8 and 9 July 1991. The embargo also covers spare parts, repairs, maintenance and transfer of military technology and contracts entered into prior to the onset of the embargo.'  

In January 2000 the EU confirmed the scope of their arms embargo through Common Position 2000/55/CFSP. The EU arms embargo applies to the whole territory of Afghanistan.

In February 2001 the EU amended the scope of the arms embargo through Common Position 2001/154/CFSP to make it compatible with a new United Nations Security Council resolution 1333, which applies to the areas of Afghanistan under the control of the Taliban only.

In November 2001 the EU amended the scope of the arms embargo through Common Position 2001/771/CFSP. The effect of the new decision was that the arms embargo no longer applied to the entire territory of Afghanistan but instead applied only to the territory of Afghanistan under Taliban control as designated by the UN Sanctions Committee.

In May 2002 the EU repealed Common Positions 96/746/CFSP, 1999/727/CFSP, 2001/154/CFSP and 2001/771/CFSP and implemented Common Position 2002/402/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Osama bin Laden, members of the al-Qaeda organisation and the Taliban and other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with them.

Last updated on
Embargo type: EU embargoes
Entry into force:
Lifted: 26 February 2001
Establishing document: 96/746/CFSP