Taliban accuse EU Bonino of Christian evangelism

KABUL, July 16,1998 (AFP) - Afghanistan's hardline Moslem Taliban on Thursday reopened their long-running campaign against European commissioner Emma Bonino, accusing her of using aid to propogate Christianity.

A top Taliban official told a news conference called to respond to European Commission warnings that aid could be cut in reaction to restrictions on aid workers, said the humanitarian affairs commissioner was anti-Moslem.

"Emma Bonino is propogating Christianity and is insulting our Islamic values," said deputy information minister Mawlawi Rahimullah Zurmati.

"She is threatening to withdraw aid to the Moslem people of Afghanistan and is therefore anti-Islamic," the official said.

He said Bonino's complaints over the Taliban's ban on female access to work and education highlighted her un-Islamic stance, and also criticised the recent Bonino-led campaign for Afghan women held in March.

"Some NGO's are also complaining they cannot work if they cannot employ women -- this is also an abuse of Islam," he added.

Bonino's falling-out with the Taliban began last September when the outspoken commissioner was arrested during a visit to the Taliban-held capital, when members of her delegation were accused of filming women.

She alleged the Taliban had imposed a "reign of terror," before taking the lead in dedicating this year's international women's day to the plight of Afghan women.

In response to a current crisis in aid here, brought about by a militia order forcing aid groups to shift to a dilapidated compound and tightening restrictions on female access to healthcare, EC officials have said a full suspension of aid to Kabul is being considered.

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