United Nations: The UN Security Council has split the international sanctions regime for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to encourage the Taliban to join reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan.

The council unanimously passed two resolutions on Friday which set up one new blacklist of individuals and organisations accused of links to Al-Qaeda and a second for those linked to the Taliban militia.

The two groups have until now been handled by the same sanctions committee. But the international powers wanted to separate them to highlight the divide between Al-Qaeda's global jihadist agenda and the Taliban's focus on Afghanistan.

The new resolutions, 1988 and 1989, send "a clear message to the Taliban that there is a future for those who separate from al-Qaeda, renounce violence and abide by the Afghan constitution," said Susan Rice, UN envoy for the United States, which led the campaign for the division.

Peter Wittig, Germany's UN ambassador who heads the Security Council anti-terrorism sanctions committee, said the resolution sends "a strong signal of trust and support for the peace and reconciliation efforts of the government of Afghanistan."

US President Barack Obama has set July as the target date to start cutting the 100,000 American troops in Afghanistan and Defense Secretary Robert Gates said this month there could be talks with the Taliban before the end of the year.