- Detention of NGO Staff by Taliban Authorities
- Accusations of Christian Missionary Work
- International Assistance Mission’s Response
At least 18 staff members of an international NGO, including an American woman, have been detained by Taliban authorities in Afghanistan, who accuse them of carrying out Christian missionary work, the country’s leaders announced on Saturday.
“Documents and audios were obtained indicating that they were inviting people to convert to Christianity,” he said, without providing additional information.
IAM had said that 18 people, including a “foreigner,” were being held but had no details about the allegations.
“Should any charges be brought against our organization or an individual employee. We will independently review any evidence presented,” the statement continued.
IAM’s website states that it was founded on Christian values but does not provide political or religious aid.
“We value and respect local customs and cultures,” the group incorporated in Switzerland said in a statement on Saturday.
IAM has been operating in Afghanistan since 1966, through previous royal, communist, and Taliban administrations, initially specializing in eye care before expanding to other health and education-related fields.
At the time, competing theories arose regarding the attack’s motive, with police concluding that it was likely a robbery.
Since the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021, dozens of expatriates, including a handful of Westerners, have been detained by Taliban authorities.
Teenage girls and women are also barred from schools, universities, and other public social activities.
Teenage girls and women are barred from schools, universities, and other public social activities.