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Heather Mercer
Dayna Curry
1993 1996 1998 1999 '2001
1993 Shelter Now, a Germany-based relief and development organization, begins operating in Afghanistan.

1996 The Taliban, a group of Islamic fundamentalists, gain control of Kabul -- and eventually over most of Afghanistan. The Taliban impose a strict form of Islam on the country. Televisions and radios are forbidden and women are banned from receiving an education

1998 Saudi exile Osama bin Ladin, who has been indicted by the United States on charges of terrorism against U.S. targets, flees the Sudan under pressure from the United States and moves to Afghanistan. He aligns himself with the Taliban and allegedly runs training camps for terrorists in Afghanistan.

1999 Dayna Curry, a native of Tennessee, takes her first assignment in Afghanistan as a humanitarian worker.

March 2001 Heather Mercer, who grew up in Vienna, Virginia, joins Dayna Curry in Afghanistan, where both work for Shelter Now.

August 3, 2001 Twenty-four Shelter Now employees -- including 16 Afghans, four Germans, two Australians and Curry and Mercer -- are arrested in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, on charges of Christian proselytizing.

August 27, 2001 The mother of Dayna Curry and the father of Heather Mercer visit their daughters in the Kabul detention center where they are being held.

Diplomats based in Islamabad, Pakistan, who represent the United States, Germany and Australia, also visit the aid workers from their respective countries.

September 1, 2001 A joint trial for the aid workers begins in Kabul. The chief justice says he cannot say how long the trial will take and that the case has been referred to the Supreme Court.

September 11, 2001 Hijackers seize four U.S. airliners, crashing two into New York's World Trade Center, another into the Pentagon in Washington and a fourth into a field in Pennsylvania, killing thousands.

The U.S. government soon links the hijacking suspects to bin Laden.

September 13, 2001 Relatives of the detained aid workers are ordered to leave the country.

September 30, 2001 The trail of the aid workers resumes in Kabul.

October 6, 2001 The Taliban offer to release the aid workers if the United States stops its military action against Afghanistan.

November 15, 2001 Curry and Mercer, along with the six other imprisioned aid workers, are freed from prison by anti-Taliban forces and flown to safety in Islamabad, Pakistan.

1993 1996 1998 1999 '2001

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