Outcry intensifies after Taliban bars women from working with NGOs


The UN has announced the suspension of critical operations in Afghanistan following the Taliban government's ban on female employees working with aid groups. Foreign ministers from 12 countries and the EU – including the United States and France – have urged the Taliban to reverse its decision.

On Wednesday, the United Nations said in a statement that some "time-critical" programs in Afghanistan have temporarily stopped and warned many other activities will also likely need to be paused because of a ban by the Taliban-led administration on women aid workers.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths, the heads of UN agencies and several aid groups underlined that women's "participation in aid delivery is not negotiable and must continue," calling on the authorities to reverse the decision.

"Banning women from humanitarian work has immediate life-threatening consequences for all Afghans. Already, some time-critical programmes have had to stop temporarily due to lack of female staff," the joint statement read.

The ban on female aid workers was announced by the Islamist Taliban-led administration on Saturday.

It follows a ban imposed last week on women attending universities, while girls were stopped from attending high school in March.

Taliban tightens its grip

Maryam – whose name has been changed for security reasons – is the director of an NGO that makes orthopaedic prosthetics.

Since Christmas Day, she and her female employees have had to stay at home.

For the time being, Somaya can continue to work because the NGO that employs her is under the Ministry of Health.

Read more on RFI English

Read also:
Chilling documentary reveals women's struggle for survival in Afghanistan
Taliban celebrate one year in power, Afghan women absent from 'festivities'
Paris Perspective #14: The fall of Kabul and new world order - Gérard Chaliand