Taliban Bans Women from Working for NGOs

Taliban Bans Women from Working for NGOs; UN and US React

In an official letter sent to the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the Taliban regime banned women from working for national and international NGOs on Saturday. The United Nations, the United States, and Switzerland have reacted against this decision.

Noting that women have not abided by the Taliban hijab rules in NGOs, the Ministry instructed these NGOs in a written letter on Saturday, December 25, to bar women from working for them. “In case of violating the above [ban], the work permit issued by this ministry will be canceled,” the Ministry warned.

Soon after the Taliban’s decision was shared in the media, the UN and the US reacted against it. Most of the humanitarian aid or response is implemented by UN agencies in the country with increasing poverty.

Expressing concern over the Taliban’s newest restriction on women’s work, the United Nations said in a statement that it violates the fundamental rights of women and is a “clear breach” of humanitarian principles.

“The UN will seek to meet with the Taliban leadership to obtain clarity on the reported order. Women must be enabled to play a critical role in all aspects of life, including the humanitarian response. Their participation must be both respected and safeguarded,” part of the statement issued on Saturday, December 24, reads.

The UN and its partners also reminded the Taliban authorities that restricting women’s freedom and excluding them systematically takes Afghanistan backward and jeopardizes efforts for peace and stability.

Moreover, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West also joined the UN in condemning the Taliban decision. He described it as “profoundly irresponsible” adding that the Taliban ignore their most basic responsibilities to the people of Afghanistan.

“It poses mortal risks to millions who depend on life-saving assistance,” the US special envoy warned.

The US has remained Afghanistan’s ‘largest donor’ after the Taliban takeover.

The UN Special Rapporteur for Afghanistan Richard Bennet said that this decision was a “gross violation” of women’s rights and gravely risks the distribution of humanitarian aid.

The Taliban’s decision jeopardizes peace and security, and demands a powerful response, he noted.

Head of the Asia Pacific Division at Switzerland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Heinrich Schellenberg said he was “shocked” hearing about this decision. He urged the Taliban authorities to reconsider this decision.

The Taliban’s ban on women working for NGOs comes after the group closed all universities and educational centers for female students for an indefinite time.

Though the ban on women’s education ignited strong worldwide reactions, the Taliban regime has continued to get more repressive on women’s rights and defensive against these reactions.