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Afghanistan: Three killed in raid on Swedish-run clinic

Posted on 18th February 2016 at 14:33pm

A Swedish aid group says its clinic in Afghanistan has been raided, with two patients and a carer killed.

The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) said the raid on its health clinic in Tangi Saidan in Wardak Province appeared to be carried out by soldiers from the Afghan National Army. There was no immediate confirmation from the army, but a local politician said soldiers had targeted the clinic.

The village of Tangi Saidan is under the control of the Taliban. Men who appeared to be from the Afghan army entered the clinic around 23:00 local time (18:30 GMT) on Wednesday, SCA communications manager Bjorn Lindh told the BBC.

"The clinic staff were detained by the soldiers and beaten," Mr Lindh said. "Then they started to search through the clinic, and took two injured persons and a caretaker out of the clinic... according to the information we have, they were taken to a place nearby and killed."

The head of the provincial council, Akhtar Muhammad Tahiri, told the BBC that "Afghan Special Forces conducted the operation - they said that opponents were being treated there." A local government spokesman told news agency EFE that those killed "were not patients, but Taliban".

Wardak province was the scene of some of the most violent battles between Nato and the Taliban before international troops pulled out, and Taliban militants still maintain control of some areas.

The Afghan defence ministry has not confirmed the raid, but a spokesman told EFE that the incident was being investigated. SCA Country Director Jorgen Holmstrom has described the attack as "a gross violation of humanitarian principles". "Medical facilities and medical staff are to provide treatment to anyone in need and patients are to be granted safety according to humanitarian law," he said.

In October, a US attack on a clinic run by aid group Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) in Kunduz killed at least 42 people.

The US military's investigation into the attack concluded that the crew of the AC-130 gunship mistook the clinic for a nearby government building that had been seized by Taliban fighters.

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2015 BBC

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