Afghanistan: Taliban ask diplomats to leave

By AAMIR SHAH

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The Taliban ruling militia once again
refused to shift its stand on the detained aid workers Thursday and asked
Western diplomats to leave Kabul.

Taliban officials adhered to their position that they won't allow the
diplomats to meet with eight foreigners jailed for allegedly preaching
Christianity. They include two Americans, two Australians and four Germans,
all from German-based Shelter Now.

Alastar Adams, an Australian diplomat, said Taliban authorities told the
diplomats to observe the investigation from Islamabad. "We have been advised
to be patient and that any sign of persistence and pursuing or trying to
hurry the investigation may be counter-productive," Adams said.

David Donahue, a U.S. diplomat, said the Taliban's stand was "unacceptable."
He said the envoys were again shown the alleged evidence against the
foreigners, such as confiscated Bibles and computer disks. "We are not
interested in this," he said. "We want to know about the investigation
process and our visit."

The diplomats turned over to Taliban authorities some supplies for the
detained workers, such as mail and edible items.

Pakistan officials said they are not getting involved in the matter of the
detained foreigners.

"We hope that this situation is amicably resolved," said Pakistan Foreign
Ministry spokesman Raiz Ahmed Khan. "Diplomatic relations that we have with
the Afghan government do not mean that we act as an intermediary between
Afghan government and any third party."

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