Taleban expel US aid worker - BBC 7/13/2000
The Taleban authorities in Afghanistan have deported a US aid worker whom they accuse of spying and spreading anti-Taleban propaganda.
Mary MacMakin, 71, was flown in a Red Cross plane to Peshawar in neighbouring Pakistan.
She dismissed the Taleban's accusations, saying her "crime" was to try to educate women and help them earn a living, which contravened the Taleban's beliefs.
They don't want women to work outside the home, don't want them to be educated or give them a hint of freedom or be creative
Miss MacMakin, who has lived in Afghanistan for more than 30 years, was detained by Taleban religious police on Sunday along with six female Afghan staff. They were released with her on Wednesday.
The BBC Kabul correspondent Kate Clark says the Taleban are genuinely angry with her, believing she has defamed them at home and abroad.
It is not yet clear whether that anger will cool enough for her to be given an Afghan visa again.
The US State Department has dismissed the Taleban charges as "ridiculous".
Miss MacMakin said there were some reasonable Taleban, who understood that women needed to work, but others just wanted to crush women's spirits.
"They don't want women to work outside the home, don't want them to be educated or give them a hint of freedom or be creative. They want women to be at home and bear children," she told reporters.
A Taleban government minister, Mohammad Wali, said incriminating documents had been found in her office.
The Taleban have ordered aid agencies and the United Nations to dismiss all Afghan women staff.
A Taleban official at the UN said the policy was adopted because more than 30,000 women had been recruited as spies during the former Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
But UN officials said they expected the order to be withdrawn soon, after a meeting between Taleban leaders and the UN co-ordinator for humanitarian relief in Afghanistan, Eric de Mul.
Several agencies in Afghanistan have responded to the recent move by suspending their programmes involving women.
Others say they will carry on working until they get further clarification from the Taleban about the dismissal order.
Although the Taleban do not allow women to work outside the home except in the health sector, some aid agencies were given special permission to employ local women.
It is still not clear whether the Taleban have overturned all these exemptions, whether health workers are still allowed to work and whether the dismissal order applies only to Kabul, or to the whole country.
If implemented in full it would affect the lives of tens of thousands of people.
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