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World celebrates as Shelter Now aid workers go home
After three months of imprisonment by the Taliban, all 24 Shelter Now employees—including 16 Afghans, four Germans, two Americans, and two Australians—are free.

Late Monday night, as the Taliban fled the capital city of Kabul, it rounded up the eight foreign Christians and put them into trucks bound for Kandahar. "We knew that if we ended up in Kandahar we would probably not survive there," Georg Taubmann told reporters (video). Fortunately, they never made it there—the Taliban convoy only made it to Ghazni, 50 miles away, before being stopping at about 1 a.m. (2:30 p.m. CST). As the temperatures dropped near freezing, the Taliban placed the prisoners into a large steel container for the next eight hours. Their next location wasn't much better: a Ghazni prison. "It was a terrible place," said Taubmann. Outside the prison, the Taliban found Ghazni an even more terrible place: local residents and Northern Alliance forces attacked the Taliban, who fled two hours later.

Meanwhile, as Northern Alliance took control of Kabul, they released the 16 Afghan Shelter Now workers. Largely forgotten by the international press, these 16 workers probably faced a harsher future than the foreigners. Had the Taliban been found them guilty of promoting Christianity, they almost certainly would have been killed.

On Monday night in Kabul, the German, American, and Australian Shelter Now workers had heard a knock on their cell door and thought it was the knock of freedom. Tuesday morning in Ghazni, they heard a knock on their Ghazni cell and thought it was the Taliban coming to take them away again. Instead, it was the people of Ghazni celebrating their freedom. "The people came ...

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November 2001

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