Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents have voiced concern about the coronavirus’s spread in government prisons and are organising monitoring and awareness camps in areas under their control.
“There are about 40,000 people living in prisons run by the Kabul administration where there are no hygiene or healthcare facilities, making it a serious threat,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Sunday.
“This virus can spread very easily in such conditions. If something goes wrong, it will be the responsibility of the Kabul government.”
Afghan had detected 21 cases of Covid-19 infections as of Monday, none of them fatal. The coronavirus has infected about 175,000 people worldwide and killed nearly 7,000.
The Taliban spokesman urged international organisations and agencies to help prevent an outbreak in prisons and also asked its jailed members to follow the World Health Organisation guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Taliban, who control about half of the country, had banned operations by the WHO and the Red Cross in April last year because of their “suspicious activities”.
They later lifted the ban on the Red Cross but did not specify whether their “security guarantee” extended to the WHO.
Dr Waheedullah Mayar, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Health Ministry, said it was working to protect prisoners and Afghans across the country.
“We even provide health services in insurgent-controlled areas to their children and women, and we will continue to do so,” Dr Mayar said.
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