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Taleban Calls on US to Halt 'Propaganda Campaign' - 2001-10-06

Reports from Kabul say antiaircraft batteries opened fire on Saturday on a plane flying high overhead the city. There were no reports of the plane being hit or any casualties. Taleban authorities say eight aid workers jailed on charges of spreading Christianity could be released if the U.S. stops what Taleban authorities are calling its "massive propaganda campaign" against the Taleban.

There have been several instances of antiaircraft fire in Kabul in recent days but, this was the first occasion that residents reported seeing a plane flying overhead.

In a separate development, the Taleban foreign ministry issued a statement saying Taleban authorities might release eight foreign aid workers who have been detained for two months if the United States stops what the Taleban foreign ministry calls threats against Afghans.

Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman, Riaz Mohammed Khan, on Saturday called on the Taleban to finish legal procedures against the eight. "On question of these aid workers our position is very clear, that the Taleban authorities should complete their legal procedures and deport these people," he said.

The eight workers and 16 local staff members belong to the international aid group Shelter Now. They were arrested on charges of trying to convert Afghans to Christianity charges Shelter Now officials deny.

Meanwhile, the Taleban supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, is reported to have ordered the release of British journalist Yvonne Ridley, who was arrested after she entered Afghanistan illegally. Taleban authorities say they acted after appeals from Pakistan and Britain.