Kabul, Oct 21 : The Taliban have reportedly shot dead a Christian lady social aid worker in Kabul, identified as 34-year-old Gayle Williams, accusing her of spreading her religion.
According to a report in The News, the aid worker, a South African-British national, helped handicapped Afghans, while working for the woman's aid group 'Serve' (Serving Emergency Relief and Vocational Enterprises).
"This woman came to Afghanistan to teach Christianity to the people of Afghanistan. Our (leaders) issued a decree to kill this woman," the paper quoted militant spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid as saying.
The paper reported that two men on a motorbike shot her with a pistol as she was walking to work around 8am, said Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary.
The group describes itself as a Christian charity registered in Britain. The Serve says on its website it has been working with Afghan refugees since 1980 in Pakistan. "'Serve's Afghanistan's purpose is to express God's love and bring hope by serving the people of Afghanistan, especially the needy, as we seek to address personal, social and environmental needs," the site says.
Rina van der Ende, a spokeswoman for Serve in Kabul, said the group is a Christian organisation "but they are definitely not expressing this on purpose. They are here to do NGO (aid) work."
A member of Afghanistan's highest religious council said on Monday that rumours had spread around Afghanistan over the last two years that Westerners had been preaching Christianity to Afghans. "We have heard rumours that houses have been rented to preach Christianity in Kabul and some provinces, but we have no evidence that this is taking place," said council member Jebra Ali.
The council previously made a formal complaint to President Hamid Karzai that Westerners were trying to spread Christianity in Afghanistan. Last year a group of 23 South Korean aid workers from a church group were taken hostage in southern Afghanistan. Two were killed and the rest were released.