29.1 C
Thursday, September 28, 2023

Taliban detains 18 humanitarian workers from Swiss NGO in Kabul

The Taliban have detained 18 staff members of a nongovernmental organization (NGO) in Afghanistan, including a U.S. citizen, the group said on Friday. The International Assistance Mission (IAM) said its staff were taken away by the Taliban from its office in Ghor province and brought to Kabul.

The reason for the detention is unclear, but local media reported that the staff were accused of promoting Christianity in the country. The IAM denied this allegation and said it only works in Afghanistan.

The U.S. State Department said it was aware of the reports and urged U.S. nationals not to travel to Afghanistan due to the high risk of violence and kidnapping.

This is not the first time that the Taliban have targeted NGO workers in Afghanistan. In June 2023, militants stormed the compound of HALO Trust, a British charity that clears landmines, and killed 10 people and wounded 16 others. In April 2023, three female health workers who were part of a polio vaccination campaign were shot dead by unknown gunmen in Jalalabad.


NGOs have faced increasing challenges and restrictions since the Taliban seized power in 2021. The Taliban have imposed harsh rules on women’s rights, education, and public life, and have banned many NGOs from operating in the country. A U.S. watchdog reported earlier this year that the Taliban are harassing NGOs and demanding money or services from them.

According to the United Nations, there are more than 2,000 NGOs working in Afghanistan, providing humanitarian aid, health care, education, and other services to millions of people in need. However, many of them have reduced their activities or left the country due to the security situation and the lack of funding.

The IAM is one of the oldest NGOs in Afghanistan, founded in 1966. It provides eye care, community development, and mental health services to Afghans. The group said it is doing everything possible to ensure the safety and release of its staff.

“We are unaware of the circumstances that led to these incidents and have not been advised of the reason for the detention of our staff members,” it said in a statement. “The well-being and security of our colleagues are paramount to us.”


Related Stories

Most Popular Articles