Afghanistan: August 19, 2001

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Even though Afghanistan desperately needs foreign aid, and the Taliban have openly requested more aid, the Taliban also creates a hostile atmosphere for Western aid groups. The current flap over Western aid workers accused to preaching Christianity has been used by the Taliban to "prove" that the evil West was using aid workers to attack the Moslem religion. This resonates with the average Afghan's suspicion of foreigners, particularly non-Moslem ones. Currently, the Taliban refuse to allow American, Australian and German diplomats to see their citizens held in Taliban jail for religious offenses. The Taliban will most likely expel the aid workers, and perhaps punish the Afghans accused to listening to the "Christian preaching." This will encourage Afghans to keep their distance from Westerners. The entire affair is meant to keep Taliban religious hardliners happy, and show Afghan's that the Taliban is not afraid of Westerners or the UN. The Taliban is betting that the foreign aid community will not withhold aid, as the only ones to suffer in that case would be the Afghan people. 

 

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