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SCA reopens clinics in Wardak with Taliban’s consent

KABUL (AT News): The Swedish aid group has reopened dozens of its health centers operating in central Wardak province which were shut down after Taliban threats, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) spokesperson said on Friday.

The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), which has been operating in the country for decades, said on last Wednesday that it had closed 42 health centers in Wardak province since July 13, following threats by the Taliban.

“Luckily, all the 42 health facilities that were closed in Maidan Wardak province have resumed their normal activities today [July 19],” Dr. Wahidullah Mayar, the MoPH spokesman, wrote on his Twitter handle.

The Taliban had contacted the aid group and told them they could reopen the clinics, Khalid Fahim, a program director for SCA, was quoted as saying by the RFE/RL.

Meanwhile, a Taliban spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, said the Taliban had no problem with the operation and daily activities of SCA clinics.

Mohammad Nadir Nadiry, the head of the main hospital in the province, said the SCA closed its clinics because “health workers are frightened.”

The decision followed a threat by the Taliban that came in response to a deadly night raid carried out by Afghan forces on an SCA-run clinic in the troubled province that was allegedly treating Taliban fighters.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized Afghan special operations forces who, the group said, entered the clinic in Dai Mirdad district on the night of July 8-9, detaining staff and family members accompanying patients.

The rights group said Afghan forces “executed” a family caregiver, a lab worker, a guard, and another person caring for a patient.

This comes as a clinic run by the SCA in the province was similarly attacked in 2016, allegedly by both international and Afghan forces. Two patients and a caretaker were killed in the incident.

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