The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Care International have partially resumed their operations in Afghanistan. The two agencies had suspended aid deliveries following the Taliban’s ban on women working as aid workers. The resumptions are limited to the health sector.
The IRC said in a statement on 13 January that “there had been some material changes in the International Rescue Committees to operate in parts of the country.”
The IRC said it had received “assurances” from the Taliban’s Ministry of Public Health that “female health staff, and those working in office support roles, can resume working.” Adding that “The role of women in the humanitarian sector in Afghanistan, and in all contexts in which we work, is an operational necessity. Without female staff at all levels and across all sectors, we cannot accurately assess needs and deliver aid and programmes at the necessary scale.”
For Care International too said 16 January that it had “obtained necessary assurances from the Ministry of Public Health that our female staff will be able to carry out their work safely and unfettered, both in community-based and support roles.”
Both organisations call on the Taliban to reverse its ban on women working for humanitarian organisations, which forced major aid agencies suspend their operations in protest.
The Taliban has defended the ban to “protect our women’s dignity and honour.”
The head of the Norwegian Refugee Council returned disappointed from Kabul on 14 January after failing to convince the Taliban leaders reverse their decision. He blamed the Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada.