by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has detained an American volunteer surgeon among 18 team members from the International Assistance Mission humanitarian aid NGO (IAM), Radio Free Europe (RFE) reports. The detainees were taken into custody over a period of 11 days, starting on September 3, with no explanation given for the move.
The IAM is the longest-serving humanitarian aid organization in Afghanistan with more than 300 paid Afghan staff and over volunteer expatriate Christian professionals working alongside them. Legally registered with the Afghan Ministry of Economy as an NGO, the IAM is based in Lal wa Jangal, central Ghor province.
“At this time, we have no information about the nature of allegations against our staff and are, therefore, unable to comment or speculate about this ongoing situation,” the IAM said in a September 15 press statement. “However, should any charges be lodged against our organization or any individual staff member, we will independently review any evidence presented.”
The IAM said in its statement that it has contacted the Afghan Ministry of Economy, and is working with the UN and other NGOs to understand the situation and secure the release of their team members.
“IAM has worked in Afghanistan alongside Afghan communities for 57 years and we value and respect local customs and cultures,” the IAM statement continued. “We stand by the principle that ‘aid will not be used to further a particular political or religious standpoint.’ All IAM staff agree to abide by the laws of Afghanistan. We want to reiterate our unwavering commitment to our humanitarian work and the well-being of the Afghan people.”
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