Logar doctors receive death threats
PUL-I-ALAM (PAN): A number of doctors in central Logar province say they have received death threats from armed insurgents and were compelled to quit their jobs at government-run hospitals.
Last month, Javed Ahmad said he received two night letters warning him he would be killed if he did not leave his job as a doctor at the 20-bed hospital in Bark-i-Barak district.
"Once, armed men stopped me on my way to the hospital and told me to leave the job or be ready for dire consequences," the doctor said. "If threats to our lives continue, we will have no option but to stop practising and move somewhere else," he said.
Another doctor in a hospital in the Charch district, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he was intercepted many times by armed men, telling him to abandon his job. "I don’t know who they are. They covered their faces with a mask and said that if I did not abide by their warning, they would kill me," he said.
A month ago, insurgents threw night letters near the house of a doctor in the Porak area of Pul-i-Alam. "Me and my two female family members who are also doctors have been warned against doing our jobs," the doctor said, asking that his name not be used. He said they had no option but to resign.
About 20 days ago, gunmen hijacked a vehicle and the driver of a hospital in the Bark-i-Barak district. The driver was released after tribal elders intervened.
Logar public health director, Dr. Mohammad Zarif Naibkhel, confirmed that doctors in Bark-i-Barak, Charkh and Kharward districts had received death threats from insurgents.
He said doctors followed the policy of the Ministry of Public Health which stated that every individual, whether militant or security personnel, should be provided treatment at hospitals. Naibkhel made an appeal to insurgents to avoid intimidating doctors as they had no role in politics.
Crime branch chief, Col. Mohammad Jan Abid, acknowledged security in the three districts was unsatisfactory, however, he denied doctors had been threatened.
He said they had not received any complaints from doctors about threats.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said threatening doctors was against their strategy. He said Taliban fighters had no problem with doctors. The rebel spokesman said hospitals were operational in areas controlled by them and anti-polio campaign had completed on time.
Mujahid said those threatening doctors were thieves and wanted to achieve their personnel gains by using the Taliban's name, and urged health workers to carry out their duties without fear.
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