Taliban militants forced the closure of all public and charity-run health centers in Afghanistan's central Maidan Wardak province, officials confirmed on Wednesday.
Provincial council member Sharifullah Hotak told Anadolu Agency that Taliban insurgents issued a stern warning to health officials across the province to shut down health centers until further notice.
He added that the situation became dire as patients now have no choice but to travel hundreds of miles to the neighboring Kabul or Ghazni provinces for treatment.
The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), an aid agency, announced in a statement that it has been forced to close 42 health centers in the province. Placing blame squarely on the Taliban, the charity said an estimated number of over 5,700 patients were affected every day.
"Forcing SCA to close health facilities hence denying people to receive medical treatment and health services is an obvious violation of human rights and international humanitarian law," said Sonny Mansson, the SCA country director.
He added: "We demand immediate reopening of all health facilities for the people and we strongly urge all parties involved in conflict to refrain from such actions which deliberately puts civilian lives at risk."
The move has been linked to a raid last week on a health facility by security forces in the province's Daimirdad district, where four people were confirmed dead and one is still missing.
There has been no immediate reaction from the Taliban.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.