People with disabilities rally in Balkh, urging Taliban to reverse Swedish ban

A group of people with disabilities staged a rally in the northern Balkh province on Saturday, calling on the Taliban to reverse the ban on the activities of Swedish-linked entities.

The rally was organised by the Blind People’s Association in the province, and was attended by dozens of people.

The Taliban suspended all Swedish activities in the country after copies of the Quran were burned by two people in Stockholm last month.

The Taliban has said that all Sweden-linked activities in Afghanistan will remain suspended unless the country apologises.

People with disabilities have voiced their concerns that the ban on Swedish activities, particularly the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA), could deprive them of urgent assistance in education, healthcare, and employment. The SCA has been providing life-saving humanitarian aid services to people with disabilities in Afghanistan for over 30 years.

“We are concerned that the ban on Swedish activities will deprive us of urgent assistance,” said Abdul Rahim Safa, a representative of the Blind People’s Association. “The SCA is providing essential services to people with disabilities, and the Taliban are not able to provide alternative means. We urge the Taliban to lift the ban immediately.”

According to the UN, 28.8 million people in Afghanistan are in need of humanitarian assistance, and more than 9 in 10 people are living in poverty.

The SCA has said that it is seeking clarification from the Taliban following the ban. The Taliban has not yet responded to the SCA’s request.