07/18/2019, 09.59
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Afghanistan, Swedish NGO closes 42 clinics following Taliban threats

The "Swedish Committee for Afghanistan" has been operating in the country for over 30 years.  Islamic militants have imposed the interruption of medical services after an attack by Afghan security forces.  Association leader: "5,700 poor patients at risk".



Kabul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A Swedish medical NGO has decided to close more than half of its health facilities in Afghanistan, after Taliban threats to doctors and their families. 

The association is called the "Swedish Committee for Afghanistan" (Sca) and has been operating for over 30 years in the country ravaged by civil war.  Parwiz Ahmad Faizi, head of communications for the NGO, declares that civilians will pay the price, as usual: at least 5,700 patients, especially poor women and children, who will be deprived of medical care.

The international agency operates 77 facilities in six districts of the province of Maidan Wardan.  The closure concerns 42 clinics located in the eastern region.  The order from the Taliban comes after an attack by Afghan security forces on July 8 in a hospital in the Daimirdad district.  Kabul soldiers suspected that some Islamic militants were also hospitalized.  In the end, the victims were civilians: a doctor, a guard and two patients.

The news of the interruption of medical services comes at a delicate moment, just over a week after the signing of a "road map for peace" between Kabul officials and senior representatives of the Taliban. 

That agreement, which immediately appeared fragile undermined by criticism and the continuous attacks that took place even during the hours of the signing, points to a country still far from finding the solution to continuous conflict.

 Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban, confirms the closure of the structures of the Swedish NGO stating that the interruption of health services as requested by the same doctors and patients treated in the clinics. 

Sonny Mansson, Sca's country director, instead reports that "the rebels actions is an obvious violation of human rights and international humanitarian law".

The director points out that the association "treats all those who need medical care in the same way, regardless of who they are". 

Finally, it calls for "the immediate reopening of all health facilities for the population.  We urgently ask all parties involved in the conflict to refrain from taking actions that could deliberately put people's lives at risk ".

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