The International Assistance Mission (IAM), an Afghanistan non-profit organisation, said Saturday that it is seeking the release of 18 members of staff detained by the Taliban. These efforts are being made alongside the United Nations.
IAM focuses on humanitarian work and the well-being of the Afghan people and has been active in their communities for 57 years. A core belief of their work is that aid should not “be used to further a particular political or religious standpoint.” In the press release, IAM clarified that the detentions, which included one foreign national, had not been explained. It noted:
At this time, we have no information about the nature of allegations against our staff and are, therefore, unable or to comment or speculate about this ongoing situation. However, should any charges be lodged against our organisation or any individual staff member, we will independently review any evidence presented.
These detentions followed earlier detentions of three staff members, two Afghan nationals and one international team member based in IAM’s Ghor office earlier this month. All of the workers have since been transported to Kabul.
The Independent reported that NGOs have “come under greater scrutiny since the Taliban seized control of the country two years ago.” Similar concerns relating to NGOs in the region, and women being banned from these organisations, have recently been raised by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Amnesty International, and the Norwegian Refugee Council.
IAM has sought assistance from the Ministry of Economy, the UN and the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief & Development (ACBAR), a national NGO that provides information-sharing and networking for NGOs in Afghanistan. As of yet, IAM has still not been provided with any basis for these detentions.