18 employees of an NGO registered in Switzerland, including one foreign national, have been detained by Afghan Taliban officials, the organization announced on Saturday.
The staff members were allegedly picked up from the International Assistance Mission’s (IAM) office in the central Afghan province of Ghor and transported to Kabul.
“At this time, we have no information about the nature of allegations against our staff and are, therefore, unable to comment or speculate about this ongoing situation,” the group said in a statement issued Saturday.
“However, should any charges be lodged against our organisation or any individual staff member, we will independently review any evidence presented.”
Taliban government spokespeople were not immediately available for comment.
recently its inception in 1966, IAM has been conducting business in Afghanistan. Initially focusing on eye treatment, it has recently expanded to include other facets of health and education.
According to its website, the organization is founded on Christian principles but does not provide aid based on political or religious beliefs.
“We value and respect local customs and cultures,” the group said in its statement.
Since the Taliban took back control in August 2021, an undetermined number of foreigners, including some Westerners, have been imprisoned by the Taliban government.
In accordance with their rigid interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, the Taliban leadership have imposed broad restrictions on the populace, including prohibiting women from working for NGOs and the UN.
Teenage girls and women are prohibited from attending schools and universities, as well as many other venues for public social interaction.