November 21, after having spend more than 100 days in Taliban prisons. They were held separately from their eight Western colleagues of the German based Christian charity Shelter Now on charges of spreading Christianity, but were released last week, ending days of uncertainty.
While the Westerners were rescued by US led helicopters backed by anti Taliban fighters, observers remained concerned about the situation surrounding the Afghan prisoners, who had no diplomatic representation.
But the Christian news agency Compass quoted a Shelter now spokesman as saying that three of their jailed Afghan staff had been released and crossed into neighboring Pakistan.
Others have telephoned Shelter Now’s Peshawar office in northwest Pakistan to confirm they had been freed, the spokesman said.
Shelter Now’s eight Western and 16 Afghan staff members had been jailed in early August and could have faced the death penalty for allegedly preaching the Gospel, under the Taliban’s Islamic law regulations.
Earlier the deputy United Nations envoy to Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell, told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that all Afghan staff members of Shelter Now were released on Tuesday, November 13, when Northern Alliance forces took the Afghan Capital Kabul.
Thousands of Christians around the world are believed to have prayed for the release of the 24 aid workers, which included special church services and prayer chains.