Posted by SlavEU | Европа, новости

The Taliban Tuesday ordered the suspension of all Swedish activities in Afghanistan because of the public burning of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, at a protest in Sweden last month. 

The June 28 authorized protest saw an Iraqi national resident in Stockholm tear and burn a copy of the Quran outside the capital’s largest mosque as Muslims celebrated Eid al-Adha worldwide. The incident sparked outrage and condemnation in Islamic countries.

“The Islamic Emirate suspends Sweden’s activities in Afghanistan for granting permission to insult the Quran and the Muslim faith,” the Taliban said, using the official name for their government in Kabul.

According to the statement, the order will remain effective “until they (Sweden) apologize to the Muslims for this heinous act.” The Taliban called on other Islamic nations to “reconsider” their relations with the Swedish government over its “blasphemous” act.

The Quran burning incident in Sweden saw immediate reaction from the Middle East and North Africa, with governments strongly condemning the act. Morocco recalled its ambassador from Stockholm.

A crowd of angry protesters in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad quickly assembled at the Swedish embassy and stormed its compound before being dispersed by security forces. Tens of thousands of people staged protest rallies across Pakistan last Friday.

Like other Western countries, Sweden closed its embassy in Afghanistan and evacuated all its staff, including Swedish and Afghan citizens, in August 2021, when the then-insurgent Taliban regained control of the country.

Aid workers said Tuesday’s Taliban order would likely disrupt the humanitarian operations of the non-governmental Swedish Committee for Afghanistan in the impoverished war-ravaged country.

The charity group manages development programs, including health care and education, in 19 Afghan provinces, employing around 6,000 people, mostly Afghans. It provides education to nearly 90,000 children and health care to two million people through its hospitals and medical centers in Afghanistan.

The SCA did not immediately comment on the possible suspension of its activities by the Taliban.

Humanitarian operations in Afghanistan have already been under severe pressure after the Taliban banned the United Nations and other non-government organizations from hiring Afghan female workers. The Taliban have also barred girls from attending schools beyond the sixth grade and ordered most female government employees to stay home since seizing power nearly two years ago.

The restrictions on women’s freedom to access education and work and a decline in donor funding have prompted the U.N. to cut its annual humanitarian aid plan for Afghanistan by more than $1 billion, forcing aid agencies to stop giving critical assistance to millions of people across the country.  

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