A top official of Afghanistan's ruling Taleban says the government will allow Red Cross officials to visit eight foreign aid workers detained by the Taleban on charges of preaching Christianity.
Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil said the Taleban has no problem allowing Red Cross (I-C-R-C) personnel to visit the detainees - two Americans, four Germans and two Australians.
However, the French news agency quoted a Red Cross official in Kabul as saying the group had already requested permission to see the jailed workers and was waiting for a response.
Meanwhile in Pakistan, the father of one of the detained American women and the mother of the other have applied for visas to visit Kabul. They also sent a letter to the Taleban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, asking to be granted access to their daughters on compassionate grounds.
The Taleban has previously said no one will be allowed to see the detainees until it completes a thorough investigation, which has since been extended to include the activities of the World Food Program.
The Taleban denied consular access to the detainees in the past week, when Pakistan-based U-S, German and Australian diplomats visited Kabul. The diplomats are requesting new visas to return to Afghanistan.
The foreign aid workers along with 16 Afghan nationals working for the "Shelter Now" Christian charity organization have been detained in Kabul since August fifth.
Wednesday, the World Food Program urged the Taleban to stop making what it calls baseless allegations linking the U-N agency to charges of preaching Christianity. The food program said it has never been involved in propagating any religion in Afghanistan or elsewhere.