ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - An international relief agency Thursday condemned an attack on one of its health clinics in central Afghanistan that killed four people and demanded an independent investigation.
The non-governmental Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) said two of its employees were among the dead, while another disappeared after the assault in the province of Wardak the night of July 8.
The agency alleged the deadly raid was carried out by Afghan security forces. When the forces were entering the building, they killed one person, who was accompanying a patient, the SCA said.
Four more people were detained and taken outside the building. Three of them, two of whom were SCA-employees, were later found shot to death approximately 50 meters from the facility and the fourth person, who is an SCA employee, is still missing, it noted.
"Such outrageous use of force against civilians and health facilities constitutes a serious violation of applicable international humanitarian law and it affects provision of health services delivery to the people in the local community," the statement lamented.
The clinic in the Tangi Saidan area of Wardak is financed by the Afghan Public Ministry of Health, it said. The area is under the control of Taliban insurgents. There was no immediate reaction from Afghan authorities to the allegations made by the Swedish group.
The relief organization demanded an independent investigation, preferably in cooperation with impartial humanitarian international organizations.
Khalid Fahim, the SCA program director, urged warring parties to immediately stop targeting civilians and health facilities in the war-shattered country.
This is not the first time Afghan forces allegedly targeted the Swedish-run clinic. In 2016, security forces had raided the facility and dragged two hospital patients along with their 15-year-old caretaker and later displayed their bodies.
The United Nations said in a statement on Wednesday that there were three attacks in Afghanistan between July 6 and 9, resulting in the death of five health workers employed by non-government organizations. It did not provide further details.
The statement said "so far this year, 77 aid workers have been killed, injured or abducted, compared with 76 in all of 2018."