Three killed as Afghan forces raid Swedish-run clinic

Swedish non-government organisation condemns raid in which soldiers shot dead two patients and a teenage boy.

Parts of Wardak are still under Taliban control and have been the scene of violent battles [File: AP /Maya Alleruzzo]

Afghan soldiers dragged two hospital patients outside a Swedish-run clinic and shot them along with a 15-year-old boy, an NGO claimed on Friday.

The soldiers raided a health clinic operated by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) in Tangi Saidan in Wardak province late on Thursday, killing the three people, Al Jazeera has been told.

“The Afghan security forces barged in the clinic, misbehaved with some of our staff members and dragged out two injured patients from the health clinic along with their caretaker,” the SCA’s spokesman Muhammad Salahuddin Momand said on Friday. 

“The caretaker was a young boy, around 15 years old. All three of them were shot dead outside of our clinic. This is unacceptable. They have violated humanitarian laws. We will protest against this.”

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There was no immediate confirmation from the army.

However, Afghan officials told Al Jazeera that the hospital was in a Taliban-controlled area and the victims were members of the armed group. 

“The Afghan security forces raided the hospital as the members of the Taliban group were being treated there,” Akhtar Muhammad Tahiri, head of the Wardak provincial council, told Al Jazeera. 

“In any case, the hospital is in a volatile area and we are doing our best to provide security to it.” 

In Stockholm, Jorgen Holmstrom, country manager for the SCA described the attack as  a “gross violation of humanitarian principles and the Geneva Convention”.

“The patients who are being treated at our clinics have the right to be protected,” Holmstrom said in a statement.

The SCA runs education and other development programmes in almost half of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.

Wardak, southwest of the capital Kabul, has been the scene of some of the most violent battles between NATO forces and the Taliban.

READ MORE: UN says Afghan hospital bombing may be war crime

The attack came as the International Red Cross said on Thursday it had suspended its activities in the country’s central eastern Ghazni province after five of its local staff there were taken hostage by what it described as a “local armed group”.

In a statement the charity said it was working to get the team released.

“ICRC’s activities are currently suspended in Ghazni province. Security conditions are being reviewed in other ICRC offices, but activities are presently ongoing,” the statement said. 

In October, US forces launched a deadly air strike on an Afghan hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the Taliban-held northern city of Kunduz, killing at least 30 people.

They later said they intended to attack a nearby Taliban compound and the mistake was caused by human and technical error.

– Additional reporting by Shereena Qazi. Follow her on Twitter @ShereenaQazi

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies