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Aid delivery to Afghanistan dependent on lifting ban on women working, Guterres says

Ahead of hosting a meeting attended by country representatives on Afghanistan in the Qatari capital, Doha, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has said that the Taliban should reverse all restrictions on women’s right to work.

The UN chief said in a tweet on Saturday that “Reversing all measures that restrict women’s rights to work is key to reaching the millions of people in Afghanistan that require humanitarian assistance. Afghans urgently need emergency aid. Women are essential to ensure it’s delivered.”

The Doha closed-meeting, scheduled to take place on Monday and Tuesday, according to António Guterres’s spokesperson, will seek to focus on “the international engagement around common objectives for a durable way forward on … Afghanistan.” 

The Taliban has not been invited to the meeting. But according to a source familiar with the situation, the Taliban Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, has been invited to Doha by the Qatari government.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council, unanimously condemned the Taliban’s ban on women working for the UN, which followed the bans on working as aid workers.

However, on Friday, the Taliban rejected the Security Council’s call and said that restrictions on women were “an internal social matter of Afghanistan that does not impact outside states.”