European officials were scrambling today to block Afghanistan's ordered expulsion of two high-ranking foreign officials because of an alleged link to Taliban insurgents, the BBC reports. Afghan authorities claim that the men, one an Irish envoy from the EU and the other a British UN official, met with Taliban members and gave them money. The order follows revelations in the media that British intelligence operatives secretly met with the Taliban last summer.
A UN spokesman said the men did not talk to Taliban militants, but had been in Helmand province, where Taliban militants are active, to meet with residents there. Afghanistan's interior ministry had been informed of the men's trip to the town of Musa Qula, recently reclaimed from the Taliban, according to European officials. The men have been ordered to leave tomorrow.