- After Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers banned women from working at NGOs, Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee, the Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE suspended operations in the country
- The ban was introduced a day earlier, after the government alleged that women were not correctly wearing the Islamic headscarf
- The Taliban also banned female students from attending universities across the country last week
KABUL, Afghanistan: After a decision by Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers to ban women from working at non-governmental organizations, Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee, the Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE suspended their operations in the country.
The ban was introduced a day earlier, after the government alleged that women were not correctly wearing the Islamic headscarf. The Taliban also banned female students from attending universities across the country this week.
The four major international aid groups said without the women in their workforces, they cannot effectively reach children, women and men in desperate need to provide healthcare, education, child protection and nutrition services and support, amidst Afghanistan’s deteriorating humanitarian conditions.
Neil Turner, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which has has 468 female staff in Afghanistan, told The Associated Press,
“We have complied with all cultural norms and we simply cannot work without our dedicated female staff, who are essential for us to access women who are in desperate need of assistance.”
In a statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross stressed that excluding Afghan women from schools and NGO work “can and will lead to catastrophic humanitarian consequences, in the short to long term.”
In addition, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the charge d’affaires to Afghanistan Karen Decker, condemned the move.
On the weekend, Decker wrote on Twitter, “As a representative of the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, I feel I have the right to an explanation of how the Taliban intends to prevent women and children from starving, when women are no longer permitted to distribute assistance to other women and children.”
The Taliban’s new rulings are reminiscent of their rule in the late 1990s, when women were banned from education and public spaces, and music, television and many sports were outlawed.