Mon, Aug 07, 2006 - Page 5 News List

S Korean Christians leaving Afghanistan as festival canceled

AFP , KABUL

Around 800 South Korean Christians have left Afghanistan and some 350 were to leave yesterday after their planned "peace festival" was called off amid concerns that their presence could spark violence, officials said.

Some 350 of the Koreans would be flown to New Delhi, Dubai or China and some of them would be escorted overland across the border from the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif into Uzbekistan, a South Korean official told reporters.

"Around 400 South Koreans are still in Afghanistan and some 350 of them are leaving today via Kabul airport and overland," the official who requested anonymity said, adding that a total of around 1,200 had originally arrived.

The weekend "peace festival" that had been organized by a South Korean-based humanitarian group linked to evangelical Christians was cancelled last week amid growing concern about the safety of the visitors, including hundreds of children.

They had arrived in recent weeks on tourist visas despite calls from the South Korean government for them to cancel their trip because of the security situation in Afghanistan.

This story has been viewed 2325 times.
TOP top