Afghanistan orders Korean Christians to leave

Kabul, Afghanistan - Afghanistan plans to deport hundreds of visiting South Korean Christians over security fears after Islamic clerics demanded their expulsion, accusing them of trying to spread Christianity, Afghan sources said on Thursday.

There was no immediate official comment from the government, but Kang Sung Han, a member of the visiting Korean team in Kabul, confirmed the deportation order,

"Yes, yes, we have been told to leave Afghanistan because of security concerns," Han told Reuters.

He said the Koreans in the capital have been confined to their guesthouses while those outside the capital Kabul have begun returning to prepare to leave the country.

Other sources in the capital aware of the issue confirmed the government had ordered the group to leave.

About 2,000 Koreans say they came to Afghanistan for a "peace festival and educational and entertainment programs."

Their visit comes despite warnings by Seoul they could be targets of attacks in the deeply conservative Muslim country.

Hundreds of Islamic clerics rallied in an ancient mosque in a northern city on Wednesday to demand the Koreans' expulsion after accusing them of trying to spread Christianity.

Dozens of Afghan Muslims have converted to Christianity in recent years and live underground, according to locals.