Christian charities to remain in Afghanistan despite charity worker's murder

Christian charities working in Afghanistan have confirmed they have no plans to pull out of the country after the murder of charity worker Gayle Williams.

Williams, 34, a British and South African citizen who worked for Christian charity Serve Afghanistan, was shot dead by a Taliban hitman in Kabul on Monday.

Christian organisations Tearfund, Christian Aid and World Vision said today that they had no plans to pull out of Afghanistan.

A Tearfund spokesman said it would not be scaling down its projects in the country. It has worked in Afghanistan for more than 30 years on disaster relief, water and sanitation projects and HIV education projects.

"The safety and security of staff is a top priority and we continually keep security under review," he said.

A spokeswoman for Christian Aid said: "We have no plans to pull out of Afghanistan now."

Mike Lyth, chief executive of Serve Afghanistan, paid tribute to Williams.

"Gayle was a close personal friend who always loved the Afghans and was dedicated to serving those who are disabled," he said.

Lyth added that the charity is now seriously considering whether to completely or partially remove its staff from Afghanistan, but is wary of a "knee-jerk reaction". He said: "We've never had any serious trouble before, but of course it's a very dangerous situation out there."

Serve Afghanistan has 15 Britons currently volunteering in Afghanistan, in addition to about 200 Afghan volunteers.

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