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Swedish Committee for Afghanistan Suspends Some Activities After Taliban Order

Following a Taliban order to stop Swedish activity in the country, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, a significant humanitarian organization, announced on Wednesday that part of its operations have been suspended.

In response to the burning of a Koran in Stockholm last month, the Taliban government declared last week that all Swedish activities in Afghanistan must cease. It was unclear, however, to which institutions the order would apply.

“Some activities of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) have been paused,” according to a statement released by the aid group after seeking discussion with the Taliban administration.

“Last year, SCA received 2.5 million patient visits in our clinics in Wardak and Nuristan. 133,000 children received education in our schools, and more than 20,000 people with disabilities were supported. SCA employs over 8,000 Afghans across 18 provinces,” the statement added.

According to the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, all acts that desecrate the Holy Quran are forbidden.

The decision by the Taliban to ban the Swedish Committee in the country came after an Iraq-born Swedish citizen tore a copy of the Quran and lit it on fire outside the Stockholm Central Mosque.

“We halt all activities of Sweden for now until Sweden apologizes and promises that such actions will not be happening again,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, The Taliban senior spokesperson.

Since the Taliban authorities imposed restrictions on female aid workers in December last year, Afghanistan’s aid sector has already been severely hampered. Reductions in funding for a yearly humanitarian plan suggested by the UN show that donor countries are curtailing their financial aid.