Afghan Taliban Fail to Grant Visas to Diplomats
Afghanistan's Taliban militia has still not issued visas to allow US, Australian and German diplomats to visit eight foreigners detained under Islamic law in Kabul, embassy sources said Thursday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abdul Rehman Zahid earlier told Afghan Islamic Press the militia wanted the diplomats, based in neighboring Pakistan, to see the evidence against the two Americans, two Australians and four Germans.
The aid workers, two men and six women, were among 24 staff of the German-based group Shelter Now arrested on the weekend for preaching Christianity.
Taliban religious police have not ruled out the death penalty, although a code of conduct for foreigners released in June allows for imprisonment of up to one month or expulsion.
"We will not oppose visas for officials from these countries and we are also ready to discuss the problem of Shelter Now with them," Rehman said.
"We will show them the evidence that Shelter Now was involved in preaching Christianity."
Zahid said investigations were still underway and any decision on the fate of the detainees would be taken after their completion.
But a US embassy spokesman told AFP the visas had not been issued before the close of business Thursday at the Taliban embassy in neighbouring Pakistan -- ISLAMABAD (AFP)
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