SCA temporarily halts operations in Afghanistan in response to Taliban directive

In response to a directive issued by the Taliban on July 11, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) has temporarily suspended some of its activities, the organization said in a statement on Tuesday.

The directive, which called for the suspension of “all of Sweden’s activities in Afghanistan,” prompted the SCA to pause certain operations while seeking necessary approvals to promptly resume its vital work.

“Despite the temporary setback, the SCA remains resolute in its commitment to supporting the Afghan people and will actively pursue engagement and dialogue with authorities at both regional and national levels,” said the SCA statement.

It added that these discussions aim to find a constructive path forward that enables the SCA to continue its humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the organization said that office staff have been advised to work remotely from home during this period.

SCA’s activities in Afghanistan are mostly focused on education and healthcare. Last year alone, the SCA’s clinics in Wardak and Nuristan received an impressive 2.5 million patient visits, while more than 133,000 children benefitted from education provided by SCA schools, according to the statement.

Additionally, the organization provided essential support to over 20,000 individuals with disabilities. SCA said it had a workforce of over 8,000 Afghans spread across 18 provinces.

Established in 1980 as a people-to-people solidarity movement, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan is a non-governmental organization that champions Afghans’ right to self-determination.

The organization is funded by a diverse range of donors, enabling its long-standing efforts to uplift Afghan society.

As the SCA navigates the temporary pause in its activities, it remains determined to resume its critical work, assisting vulnerable communities, and contributing to the well-being of the Afghanistan people, said the statement.

The Taliban last week suspended all Swedish activity in Afghanistan following the desecration of the Holy Quran during a recent protest in Stockholm.

The Taliban said that Sweden needs to comply with the directive and inform its relevant organizations of the suspension. It has also demanded an apology from Sweden “for insulting the Holy Quran and the Muslim faith.”