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AFP, December 25, 2007

Afghanistan orders UN, EU officials to leave, accuse them of link with Taliban

They had been accused of "having had contacts with the armed opposition out of the knowledge of the government," the diplomat said.

KABUL - Afghanistan has ordered a top European Union official and a United Nations staffer to leave the country for threatening national security, government and diplomatic officials said.

The two were declared persona non grata, apparently after allegations they had met with Taliban insurgents, a European diplomat said.

The office of President Hamid Karzai had at first announced at a press conference that the two, said to be British and Irish, had been arrested.

Spokesman Homayun Hamidzada later told AFP the pair, whom he did not identify, had been asked to leave the country. Another official said that two of the pair's Afghan colleagues had been arrested.

"The foreign nationals have been declared persona non grata and their Afghan colleagues have been arrested and are being investigated," Hamidzada said.

He said his earlier statement that the pair were in custody was a "misunderstanding." In that statement, he said the unidentified pair "posed threats to the national security of Afghanistan."

A European diplomat said on condition of anonymity that the men had been given two days to leave, but the UN mission here said it was not aware of any deadline.

They had been accused of "having had contacts with the armed opposition out of the knowledge of the government," the diplomat said.

"Afghans claim they have documents proving these guys had contacts with the Taliban but have not given any proof," he said.

The UN mission said it was not sure on what basis the government had made the allegations.

"The government has not made clear its justification for this action and we are trying to clarify this misunderstanding," said spokesman Aleem Siddique.

"We have no reason to believe that there is any justification for such a request," he said. He said the UN official was a British national and that the EU staffer was an Irish national.

An Afghan foreign ministry official said the men were asked to leave because they had done something "not in their mandate."

He would not give their nationalities, although other officials said they were British nationals.

Category: Taliban/ISIS/Terrorism, US-NATO - Views: 8379


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