Afghanistan to Investigate 'Proselytizing' Aid Groups

An Afghan woman with her daughters receive aid. The Afghan government will investigate local and foreign aid groups suspected of spreading Christianity. Photo by: Jennifer Cohen / ISAF Public Affairs / CC BY 2.0 Jennifer Cohen / ISAF Public AffairsCC BY 2.0

The Afghan government has formed a commission to investigate several aid groups suspected of “spreading Christianity.” 

The decision came after a local TV report accused the Norwegian Church Aid of preaching Christianity, a crime considered punishable by death in Afghanistan, according to the Guardian.

An NCA official declined to comment, but reports said the allegation was rooted in the translation of the name of NCA.

Local and foreign NGOs have been operating in Afghanistan for decades to conduct humanitarian missions, but their real motives are now being questioned by some Afghans, accusing them of “proselytizing,” the Guardian reports.

Sediq Amarkhil, a spokesman for the Ministry of Economy, said: “We are very, very serious about this matter. If proven that any NGO is operating against the norms and laws of Afghanistan and Islam and is inviting people to Christianity … we will not only close it down, but will hand it over to the judicial and legal organs of the government.”

Devex has reported that some 20 international and 152 national nongovernment organizations have shut down following the groups’ failure to report on their operations and finances.

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    Chiden Balmes

    Chiden, a correspondent based in Seoul, focuses on computer-assisted reporting to provide international development professionals with practical business and career information. He also contributes to the Development Newswire and the Global Development Briefing, two of the world's highest-circulation development publications.