Norwegian Refugee Council

Norwegian aid chief urges the Taliban to lift women ban and says supreme leader personally responsible

The Secretary of General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Jan Egeland, has pleaded with Taliban leaders to lift their ban on women working for NGOs by issuing a new decree, so that his organisation and other agencies can resume their operations.

“We now urge that a new decree is issued that allow for women to work in our organisations. We again promise to follow all traditional rules and regulations for behavior in Afghanistan. We also urge a decree allowing again female education and studies so that Afghanistan will have the future doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers and other skilled workers that can support women and families in the future,” Jan Egeland wrote in a letter directed at the group’s leaders in Kandahar.

In a video posted on Twitter from Kabul, the NRC chief said that there had been ” some progress in the education and in the health sector,” but still a new decree was required to lift the ban entirely to enable aid agencies deliver aid.

Speaking to CNN before leaving Kabul, where he had been lobbying the Taliban to reverse its decisions, Egeland, blamed the Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhondzada, for banning women from working.

In another video filmed from the air as he leaves Afghanistan, Egeland said “Leaving Afghanistan with a heavy heart. It was minus 20 C when we left Kabul. Millions will be without relief until we are again allowed to work with and through women.”