Afghanistan deports Christian Koreans, cancels peace festival
07 Aug 2006
KABUL: August 7, 2006. Afghanistan has ordered hundreds of South Korean Christians on Sunday August 6, to leave the country yesterday, accusing them of seeking to undermine Islamic culture and trying to spread Christianity
Members of a South Korean non-governmental organisation, called the Institute of Asian Culture & Development, had prepared for a 'peace festival' set for this weekend.
A member of the Korean group has said that the festival has been cancelled at the request of the Afghan government, Agence France-Presse reports.
Spokesman for the group Sung Han Kang said that Interior Ministry officials said they were being deported for their own protection, not due to security fears.
Meanwhile, Interior Ministry spokesman Yousef Stanezai said that although the Koreans came with tourist visas, their activities showed they had a different agenda.
"The programme was against the Islamic culture and customs of Afghans," he said, adding they have been told to leave the country as soon as possible.
The South Koreans came to Afghanistan a month ago to provide computer and business training, medical and dental care and arrange sports activities in five cities, he said.
"It was rumoured among the people they have plans to convert the people to Christianity," said Faiaz Mhrain, the governor's chief of staff.
However, Kang stated that although the Institute of Asian Culture & Development has a Christian background, they have no intentions to win converts.
In western Herat province, provincial authorities put about 200 Koreans on a bus and deported them to Uzbekistan on Wednesday, a top provincial official said.
According to the South Korean-based Institute, some of the visiting Koreans have U.S. or Canadian citizenships, and there were 600 children among the visitors.
Kang confirmed the Koreans were deported but said they were sent to Iran.