Update: Taliban Defends Arrests of Humanitarian Workers
Ignoring international outcry, Taliban rulers defended the arrest of 24 Shelter Now International (SNI) humanitarian workers yesterday. While it has been committing massive human rights abuses against women, minorities, and the Afghan population at large since it came into power in 1996, the Taliban has recently put increasing pressure on international aid workers. The arrests follow the detention of some 56 children accused of involvement with SNI, the ouster of the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan from its Kabul offices in June, the imposition of Islamic law on non-Muslim foreigners, and a decree forbidding foreign women from driving cars in Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Support Group, the main organization that coordinates all of the Afghan aid, including aid distributed through U.N. channels, has warned that the Taliban is risking almost all of the aid to Afghanistan with its increasingly restrictive policies.