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Western Diplomats in Afghanistan to Assist Detained Foreign Aid Workers Have Left Kabul - 2001-09-13


Western diplomats in Afghanistan to assist detained foreign aid workers have left Kabul amid concerns over possible U-S strikes in retaliation for Tuesday's terrorist attacks (in New York and Washington).

The U-S, German and Australian diplomats returned to their embassies in Pakistan today (Thursday), along with relatives of eight foreign aid workers accused by the Taleban of preaching Christianity in Afghanistan.

The diplomats have appointed an Islamic scholar as defense counsel for the detained workers, who are under trial at the Taleban Supreme Court.

Afghan authorities arrested the eight, along with 16 Afghan nationals, early last month. All were working for the German-based "Shelter Now" charitable organization.

The Afghan citizens will be tried separately. If convicted, they could face the death penalty. The possible penalty for foreigners is not clear.

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