لینک های دسترسی

AFGHAN AID WORKERS - 2001-08-24


Afghanistan's Taleban rulers say they will allow Red Cross officials to visit eight foreign aid workers detained on charges of preaching Christianity.

Taleban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil says the Taleban has no problem allowing Red Cross (I-C-R-C) personnel to visit the detainees.

But, Red Cross officials in Kabul say they are still waiting for official permission to see the jailed workers.

Meanwhile in neighboring Pakistan, parents of the two American detainees have applied for visas to visit their daughters. A Taleban embassy official says the father of one of the women and the mother of the other also sent what he called a passionate appeal to the Taleban supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar.

Since arresting the 24 aid workers earlier this month for allegedly preaching Christianity, Taleban officials have barred diplomats from visiting the detainees, which include two Americans, four Germans and two Australians.

The Taleban has previously said foreigners would not 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.

Pakistan-based U-S, German and Australian diplomats who returned earlier this week from Kabul without seeing the detainees have requested visas to return to Afghanistan.

The foreign aid workers along with 16 Afghan nationals were working for the "Shelter Now" Christian charity organization, which is one of dozens of groups helping the United Nations provide aid to the war and drought ravaged country.

Meanwhile, the World Food Program has 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.

Taleban officials have said a search of Shelter Now's officies turned up Christian material translated into local languages (Pashto and Dari) as well as other evidence.

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