In latest reactions against the Taliban’s alleged ban on UN female staff, the UN Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan Richard Bennett denounced it as “against UN Charter” and former US ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, as a “wrong” decision detrimental to Afghanistan’s interests.
“The Taliban’s decision to ban Afghan female staffers from working in #UN offices in Afghanistan is wrong. It will likely increase the suffering of the people as it will likely lead to reduced international assistance,” Khalilzad said in a series of tweets late on Tuesday.
He added that the decision would complicate international dealings with the Taliban, reiteration on his repeated call that the Taliban leaders should follow on their commitments to the Afghan people.
Khalilzad, who facilitated the US-Taliban peace deal in Doha, added that the group’s leaders had committed to honour women’s rights to education and work in “public and private” meetings in Doha and they should follow through on these commitments.
The UN Special Rapporteur Richard Bennett also condemned the decision in a tweet on Wednesday, adding that women staff were essential for the UN agencies and asked the Taliban’s authorities to reverse it. “TB (Taliban) decision to ban #Afghanwomen UN staff from working is another gross violation of their fundamental right to non-disc, is against UN Charter & will seriously impact essential services for#Afghans,” he noted.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expressed “serious concern” in a tweet late on Tuesday that its female staff were prevented from reporting to work in the country’s eastern Nangahar province.
Hours later, the UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric confirmed to reporters in New York that the UN has asked all its male and female employees in the country to not come to work for two days after its officials in Afghanistan receive “word of an order” by the Taliban to ban female UN workers.