Taliban halt Swedish activities in Afghanistan after Quran burning

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The Taliban administration said on Tuesday all activities by Sweden in Afghanistan must stop after the burning of the Quran outside a mosque in the Swedish capital last month.

“After the insulting of the holy Quran and granting of permission for insulting of Muslim beliefs ...The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is ordering the stopping of all activities of Sweden in Afghanistan,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban administration in a statement.

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Sweden no longer has an embassy open in Afghanistan, since the Taliban took over in 2021.

The order was likely to affect the Swedish non-governmental organization, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, which has thousands of aid workers at work throughout the country in health, education and rural development.

An Iraqi immigrant to Sweden burned the Quran outside a Stockholm mosque last month, causing outrage in the Muslim world.

The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Taliban order. The Taliban administration did not provide details on which organizations would be affected.

Afghanistan’s aid sector has already been severely hampered by a series of restrictions, including on female aid workers, and funding reductions for the United Nation’s-led annual humanitarian plan suggests donor countries are pulling back on financial support.

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