Concerns Mount Over Suspension of Swedish Committee's Activities in Afghanistan

There are concerns over the suspension of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan activities in Afghanistan. Many employees and assistants of the organization are upset about the harmful consequences that this suspension is having on both staff members and aid recipients.

Some employees from Ghazni and Balkh, who chose to remain anonymous, have reported that closing the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan operations has had a detrimental impact on both the organization’s personnel and the people who rely on their aid. For example, the closure of a large hospital for the disabled in Ghazni has left many individuals without essential services, which has made their lives even more challenging.

An anonymous aid worker in Afghanistan is also worried about the broader implications of organizational closures. They emphasize the critical role such entities play in alleviating the nation’s suffering. The lack of essential services, particularly in areas like healthcare and food assistance, further compounds the challenges faced by Afghan communities.

On 15 March 2024, The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan suspended its activities in the country due to security concerns after the Taliban made a request. While Andreas Stephenson, the secretary-general of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, expressed disappointment over the decision, he reiterated the committee’s unwavering commitment to helping Afghans. He also expressed hope that alternative arrangements could be made to allow some activities to continue through collaborative efforts with other organizations.

Andreas Stephenson stressed the importance of ensuring the safety of their employees, especially in light of the current volatile situation in the region.

The committee has faced difficulties in Afghanistan before. During the summer, the Taliban put a stop to the committee’s activities after an incident in Sweden where a man burned a Quran. The Taliban demanded an apology from Sweden, connecting the event to the committee’s work in Afghanistan.

The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan was founded in 1980. For the past forty years, it has played a vital role in delivering healthcare and education services. However, the Taliban’s continuous restrictions have caused difficulties in its operations. As a result of recent events, the organization’s activities have been put on hold.

The committee has been actively providing development aid to vulnerable groups, which includes women, children, and the disabled in different regions of Afghanistan. They have a workforce of over 6,000 employees. In 2022, the committee’s efforts have led to significant achievements, such as enrolling more than 133,000 children, with a majority of them being girls, in schools supported by the organization. Additionally, the organization’s clinics and hospitals have recorded over 2.5 million patient visits, with women, children, and individuals with disabilities benefiting from the services provided.

Saeedullah Safi

Saeedullah Safi is an Afghan journalist in exile and co-founder of The Afghan Times. Safi knows a lot about Afghanistan and its people. As the editor of The Afghan Times, he works hard to make sure the news is fair and accurate. He wants to make a difference by showing the world what's happening in Afghanistan.

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