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Swedish Aid Group Closes Afghan Health Centers After Taliban Threats


A Swedish aid group says it has closed dozens of health centers it was operating in Afghanistan following threats by the Taliban.

Khalid Fahim, a program director for the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, which runs several aid projects, told RFE/RL that the charity had closed 42 health centers in the central province of Maidan Wardak.

Mohammad Nadir Nadiry, the head of the main hospital in the province, said all clinics in the province had been closed because "health workers are frightened."

Fahim said the decision followed a threat by the Taliban that came in response to a deadly night raid carried out by Afghan forces on a Swedish-run clinic that was treating Taliban fighters.

Human Rights Watch 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.

A clinic run by the group in Maidan Wardak was attacked in 2016, allegedly by both international and Afghan forces. Two patients and a caretaker were killed in the incident.

The Swedish charity has been operating in Afghanistan for decades.

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