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Taliban threats force SCA to close health centres

Taliban threats force SCA to close health centres

Jul 17, 2019 - 14:13

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Swedish Committee for Afghanistaninfo-icon (SCA) on Wednesday announced closing dozens of healthinfo-icon facilities in central Maidan Wardak province.

The aid group said it had shut down 42 health centres in the restive central province in the wake of threats from Talibaninfo-icon insurgents.

Hundreds of thousands of people would be affected by the closure of the health clinics in six different districts, the SCA said in a statement.

An estimated 5,700 patients were affected on a daily basis by the decision, which comes a week after Afghan security forces raided a clinic in the Tangi Saidan area of Wardak and killed four people.

The Taliban asked the SCA this weekend to shut down its health facilities, blaming the NGO for its failure to protect civilians. "The Taliban forced SCA to close 42 out of 77 health facilities in Wardak," the aid group said.

Forcing the closure of health facilities and hence denying people medical treatment was a violation of human rights and international humanitarian law, the organisation said.

"We demand immediate reopening of all health facilities for the people and we strongly urge all parties involved in conflict to refrain from such actions which deliberately puts civilian lives at risk," SCA Country Director Sonny Mansson said.

Meanwhile, the SCA said it was in contact with all parties in a bid to reopen the health facilities. It urged the Taliban to agree on reopening of the health facilities with immediate effect.

Sharifullah Hotak, a member of the provincial council, told Pajhwok Afghan News after the Taliban had warned some health workers against delivering services.

Hotak said: “The main civil hospital has been closed for the past three days and doctors are not attending their office. The doctors say some unknown figures have told them not to attend their job.”

Hotak said around hundreds of patients were left unattended due to the situation. He asked the government to pay urgent attention to protecting civilian lives in night raids.

Public Health Director Dr. Mohammad Salam Asgharkhel said the provincial hospital and other facilities were partially closed.

On the other hand, the Taliban also confirmed they had prevented some doctors from doing their jobs.

The group spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the SCA had not reacted to the US raid on its hospital. He added SCA was duty-bound to raise its voice against such actions.



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