UN tells off Taliban for taking offence

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The Independent Online
The United Nations yesterday said Afghanistan's Taliban rulers have no right to be offended by foreign aid workers who decline to follow local religious laws while on UN property.

Taliban officials disrupted a meeting last week at a UN office in Kandahar by demanding a visiting human rights lawyer give her presentation from behind a screen in the corner of the conference room. She did, but three male foreign air workers walked out of the meeting in protest. The Taliban officials then expelled the three male workers, saying they had insulted Afghan traditions and ignored the law of the land.

The United Nations officially protested against the expulsion yesterday, saying UN premises are "extra-territorial", so Taliban officials had no right to try to enforce their laws at the meeting.

Meanwhile, the Taliban militia said its forces were standing at the gates of Mazar-i-Sharif, the besieged northern capital that is the last major city in opposition hands.

A Taliban spokesman said its forces were fighting around the city and their jets had bombed its outskirts yesterday. - AP