US woman among 18 NGO staff detained in Afghanistan

The government said on Saturday that at least 18 members of an international NGO’s personnel, including an American lady, had been detained by the Taliban in Afghanistan on suspicion of working as Christian missionaries.

The International Assistance Mission (IAM) stated that its employees had been transported to Kabul from their office in the central Afghan province of Ghor.

According to Abdul Wahid Hamas Ghori, a government spokesman for the province, security and intelligence authorities had been keeping an eye on the group for some time.

“Documents and audios were obtained that showed they were inviting people to join Christianity,” he said, without providing further details.

He said a total of 21 people were arrested, including an American woman.

The US State Department said Saturday that it was “aware of reports of the recent detention of a US citizen in Afghanistan,” adding in a statement that “We have no further details to share at this time.”

American citizens were once again advised not to visit the nation, with the additional warning that “the risk of kidnapping or violence against US citizens in Afghanistan is high.”

IAM stated in a previous statement that 18 persons, including a member of the international team, were being held and that it was unaware of the specifics of the allegations.

On September 3, the foreign national, two Afghan employees, and 15 additional Afghan employees were detained, according to the report.

“Should any charges be lodged against our organisation or any individual staff member, we will independently review any evidence presented,” the IAM statement added.

The organization’s website says the organisation is founded on Christian values, but that it does not provide aid according to political or religious belief.

“We value and respect local customs and cultures,” the Swiss-registered group said in a statement on Saturday.

The IAM statement continued, “Should any complaints be made against our organization or any specific staff member, we will independently investigate any evidence offered.

According to the organization’s website, it was formed on Christian principles but does not give aid based on political or religious beliefs.

In a statement released on Saturday, the organisation with Swiss registration said, “We value and respect local customs and cultures.”

Since the Taliban took back power in August 2021, dozens of foreigners, including some Westerners, have been imprisoned by Taliban officials.

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.

Also prohibited from attending schools and universities, as well as many other venues for public social interaction, are teenage girls and women.

This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
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