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Foreign aid groups in Afghanistan suspend work after Taliban ban on women workers

After the Taliban declared that women cannot work for non-governmental organizations, several aid groups in Afghanistan have stopped operations.

The Taliban stated that the ban on female employees came because some people had not followed the Taliban’s interpretations of Islamic dress codes for women.

Save the Children, CARE, and the Norwegian Refugee Council all stated that they cannot work effectively with women or children without female staff.

The three organizations jointly stated that they would not have reached millions of Afghans in dire need if it weren’t for women.


“This will have a huge impact on thousands of jobs during an economic crisis.

“While we get clarity on this announcement we are suspending all programmes and demanding that women and men alike can continue our lifesaving aid in Afghanistan.”

The Taliban‘s economic ministry stated that it has received serious complaints about female employees not wearing hijabs or headscarves.

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Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, said that he was disturbed by the Taliban’s actions and added: “The United Nations, its partners, including international and national non-governmental organizations, are helping more Than 28 million Afghans, who depend on humanitarian assistance to survive.”

It wasn’t clear whether the ban, announced by the economy ministry and confirmed by the ministry, also applied for foreign women or workers for the United Nations, which has an important presence in the country.

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Afghan women appeal to the world for help

According to the economy ministry, the ban is applicable to Afghanistan‘s coordination body for humanitarian organizations, ACBAR. This does not include UN.

The UN does contract with NGOs in Afghanistan that are part ACBAR to help it carry out its humanitarian work.

According to the UN, it is hopeful that the Taliban will meet with them to resolve the matter. Ramiz Alakbarov was its deputy special representative for Afghanistan, and humanitarian coordinator. The UN also stated that most of its work in Afghanistan was done by NGOs.

He stated that many of our programs will be affected and that we won’t have the ability to implement them unless there is participation by female staff in the assessment and identification of beneficiaries and in the distribution of aid.

This ban was implemented days after Afghan women were prevented from attending university under the Taliban’s control. A move that attracted international condemnation.


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