The International Rescue Committee (IRC) halted its operation in Afghanistan as its 3,000 female employees are impacted following the Taliban’s banned women’s work for NGOs last Saturday. It delivered humanitarian services to millions in need across 12 provinces.
The IRC warned in a statement on Sunday that the Taliban’s latest decision following earlier bans on women’s education will have “lifelong impacts” on the present and future of Afghanistan.
“The exclusion of women from humanitarian service delivery will have catastrophic consequences for the Afghan people because our services depend on women workers,” the IRC further noted.
Moreover, the humanitarian aid organization urged the Taliban authorities to consider the “grave humanitarian implications” of their recent decision at a time when over 97 percent of Afghanistan’s population is facing poverty.
The organization added that its ability to deliver humanitarian services relied on its female employees at all levels. “If we are not allowed to employ women, we are not able to deliver to those in need,” the IRC stated.
With over 8,000 employees, including 3,000 female staff, for now, the IRC has been operating in Afghanistan since 1988 which also includes the first reign of the Taliban (1996-2001). In over three decades of its operation, the IRC has never been forced to cease delivering services to millions of needy people in Afghanistan.
According to the IRC, the Taliban’s restrictions on access to work for women have cost up to $ 1 billion loss in the last year alone.
IRC is the 4th humanitarian organization that is forced to suspend its operation as a result of the Taliban’s latest bans on women’s work. Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council, and CARE International announced the suspension of their operation in a joint statement on the same day.
The Taliban bans on women’s education and on women’s work have triggered strong international reactions but the group’s authorities continue to defend their misogynist policies and announce more restrictions.