The Taliban has detained 18 workers, including one American, in Afghanistan for allegedly preaching Christianity.

The International Assistance Mission (IAM), a Swiss nonprofit group, said the Taliban stormed its office in Ghor twice and abducted 18 workers, The New York Post reports.

Three workers were taken in the first raid on Sept. 3, and 15 were taken in the second raid on Sept. 13.

IAM said it was “unaware of the circumstances that led to these incidents and have not been advised of the reason for the detention of our staff members.”

“At this time, we have no information about the nature of allegations against our staff and are, therefore, unable to comment or speculate about this ongoing situation.”

Meanwhile, the Taliban said in a statement that the workers were taken for “propagating and promoting Christianity” in the predominantly Muslim country.

“The well-being and security of our colleagues are paramount to us, and we are doing everything possible to ensure their safety and secure their swift release,” the organization said.

The group has asked the Ministry of Economy, the United Nations and the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief to work together to obtain the workers’ release.

According to its website, the IAM has been working in Afghanistan to improve lives, local health, community development, and education.

“We are a partnership between the people of Afghanistan and international Christian volunteers, and we have been working together since 1966.”

The Taliban imposes Islamic law, or Shariah, in Afghanistan, which bars teenage girls from schools beyond the sixth grade and has directed most female government officials to stay home.

Women are also prohibited from visiting public parks, gyms, or bathhouses. Further, they need a male relative to accompany them on long road trips.

This week, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that “the question of the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan is absolutely central to all concerns and will be one of the issues that will be very much in (sic) the agenda” of the General Assembly session later this month.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Keith Binns

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

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