Taliban to talk to Swedish NGO after Afghan clinic closures

International
Ahmad Khalid Fahim

Ahmad Khalid Fahim, program director for the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan shows the group’s website during an interview with The Associated Press in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, July 17, 2019. The Swedish non-governmental organization in Afghanistan said the Taliban have forced the closure of 42 health facilities run by the non-profit group in eastern Maidan Wardan province. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban said they would hold talks Thursday with representatives of a Swedish non-profit group after threats by the insurgents forced the organization to close 42 clinics it runs in eastern Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Taliban fighters in southern Kandahar province attacked police headquarters, killing at least 10 people and wounding dozens more, officials said.

The closures of the facilities run by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan in Taliban-controlled areas of Maidan Wardak province are expected to affect almost 6,000 people. The clinics in government controlled parts of the province remain open.

The closures came after Afghan forces last week raided a clinic run by the NGO, in pursuit of the Taliban. Two staffers died in the raid.

On Wednesday, Sonny Mansson, the group’s director, told The Associated Press that the Taliban threatened the NGO’s staff by saying that if they do not close the facilities, “it would have consequences for themselves and their families.”

The talks are meant “to resolve the situation” in Maidan Wardak province, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, though he offered no details on where and how the meeting would take place.

Also on Thursday, the Swedish committee was organizing a meeting of aid groups working in the country to take a united stand and demand protection of civilians from all sides in Afghanistan’s nearly 18-year-long war.

“We would like to send a clear message that protection of civilians and aid workers should be prioritized by all parties to the conflict,” the NGO said in a statement, expressing concerns over violations in international humanitarian law and the “increase in attacks on citizens, health care and education facilities.”

Also on Thursday, in southern Kandahar province, a suicide attacker detonated his explosives-laden vehicle outside provincial police headquarters, said provincial council member Mohammad Yousuf Yunosi. Immediately after the explosion several other attackers opened fire on security guards with small arms.

Jamal Naser Barikzai, spokesman for the chief of police, said at least 10 people were killed and at least 80 wounded in the attack. He said two police were among the dead and four insurgents were also killed.

Witnesses described a powerful explosion that shook the neighborhood, shattering windows in nearby buildings.

Qari Yousf Ahmadi, spokesman for the Taliban, later claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.

Kandahar is the former seat of the Taliban when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until their ouster by a U.S.-led coalition in 2001. The Taliban currently control nearly half of Afghanistan and are more powerful than at any time since the October 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

___

Associated Press writer Kathy Gannon in Islamabad contributed to this report.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Overcast

Abbeville

70°F Overcast Feels like 70°
Wind
5 mph S
Humidity
92%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Thunderstorms likely. Low 63F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.
62°F Thunderstorms likely. Low 63F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.
Wind
8 mph SW
Precip
80%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Gibbous
Overcast

Crowley

70°F Overcast Feels like 70°
Wind
6 mph SSW
Humidity
97%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Showers and thundershowers likely. Low 58F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.
62°F Showers and thundershowers likely. Low 58F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.
Wind
8 mph SW
Precip
80%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Gibbous
Overcast

Opelousas

71°F Overcast Feels like 71°
Wind
6 mph SSW
Humidity
95%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Variable clouds with scattered thunderstorms. Low around 55F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
62°F Variable clouds with scattered thunderstorms. Low around 55F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.
Wind
8 mph SW
Precip
80%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Gibbous
Overcast

Breaux Bridge

70°F Overcast Feels like 70°
Wind
6 mph S
Humidity
97%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Showers and thundershowers likely. Low 61F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%.
62°F Showers and thundershowers likely. Low 61F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%.
Wind
8 mph SW
Precip
80%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Gibbous
Overcast

New Iberia

70°F Overcast Feels like 70°
Wind
7 mph SSW
Humidity
100%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Cloudy with rain ending overnight. Low 41F. Winds NNE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Higher wind gusts possible.
41°F Cloudy with rain ending overnight. Low 41F. Winds NNE at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Higher wind gusts possible.
Wind
19 mph NNE
Precip
60%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Gibbous

Sidebar

Trending Stories