- The Taliban orders NGOs to prevent female employees from working
- This comes after the suspension of female students from universities
- The United Nations says the system would be a violation of humanitarian principles
- The United Nations plans to meet the Taliban to clarify
KABUL (Reuters) – The Taliban-led administration in Afghanistan on Saturday ordered all domestic and foreign NGOs to prevent female employees from coming to work, according to a letter from the Economy Ministry, as part of its latest crackdown on women’s freedoms. .
The letter, which was confirmed by Economy Ministry spokesperson Abdul Rahman Habib, said the female employees were not allowed to work until further notice because some of them were not working, and did not respect the administration’s interpretation of the Islamic dress code for women.
It comes days after the Taliban administration ordered universities to close in on women, drawing global condemnation and sparking protests and fierce criticism in Afghanistan.
Ramiz Alkabirov, the UN’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan and humanitarian coordinator, said he was “deeply concerned” by the information in the letter, which represented “a clear violation of humanitarian principles.”
It was not immediately clear how the matter would affect the United Nations agencies, which have a strong presence in Afghanistan and provide services amid the humanitarian crisis in the country.
The United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs said the United Nations would try to meet with Taliban leaders “to obtain clarification on the reported matter.”
The Norwegian chargé d’affaires, who funds aid to Afghanistan and hosted talks between the Taliban and members of civil society in January, condemned the move.
“The ban on female NGO workers must be lifted immediately,” Paul Kloman Beijing wrote on Twitter. In addition to being a blow to women’s rights, this decision will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis and harm the most vulnerable Afghans. »
Asked if the rules cover UN agencies, Habib said the letter applied to organizations affiliated with the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Afghanistan, better known as Akbar. This body does not include the United Nations, but includes more than 180 local and international NGOs.
However, the UN often contracts with NGOs registered in Afghanistan to carry out their humanitarian work.
Aid workers say female workers are key to ensuring that women get help.
Afghanistan’s already ailing economy has been in crisis since the Taliban took power in 2021, as the country faces sanctions and cuts in development aid.
Humanitarian aid, which aims to meet urgent needs, has provided a lifeline to millions of people. More than half of the Afghan population depends on humanitarian aid, according to the International Rescue Committee.
(Kabul Newsroom Report) Edited by Mark Potter
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