KAPURA, AFGHANISTAN — Foreign aid groups on Sunday suspended their operations in Afghanistan after the country’s Taliban leaders decided to ban women from working in international and regional organizations.
Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE, said they could not reach the children, women and men who are most in need in Afghanistan without the women of their staff. The NGO ban was issued a day earlier, as women were not wearing the Islamic headscarf properly.
“We have met all cultural norms and we could not do it without our dedicated female staff, it is important that we reach women who really need help,” said Neil Turner, the Head of the Norwegian Refugee Council for Afghanistan, told the Associated Press on Sunday. He said there are 468 women workers in the country.
The developments came in response to the Taliban’s new law restricting women’s rights and freedoms since they seized power last year.
THIS IS A GREAT DEAL. AP’s previous coverage is as follows.
The US has criticized the Taliban for ordering non-governmental organizations in Afghanistan to end the practice of women, saying the ban would jeopardize vital and life-saving aid to millions.
The Taliban’s takeover last year sent Afghanistan’s economy into a tailspin, upending the country and driving millions into poverty and hunger. Foreign aid stopped almost overnight. Sanctions against Taliban leaders, a freeze on bank transactions and billions frozen in Afghanistan’s cash reserves have blocked access to international firms and foreign funds that supported the aid-rich economy. aid of the country before the withdrawal of American and NATO forces.
“Women are at the heart of humanitarian work around the world,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday. “This decision may cause problems for the Afghan people.”
The NGO order came in a letter from Economy Minister Qari Din Mohammed Hanif. It said organizations found not to comply with the order would have their operating licenses revoked in Afghanistan. It is the latest blow to women’s rights and freedoms since the Taliban took power last year and imposed severe restrictions on education, work, clothing and travel.
Most of the Taliban government’s command is all-male and religious, reminiscent of their rule in the late 1990s, when they banned women. to study and in public places and turn off music, television and many games.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was deeply troubled by reports of NGO sanctions.
“The United Nations and its partners, including national and international organizations, are helping more than 28 million Afghans who rely on humanitarian aid to survive,” he said in a story.
Aid agencies and NGOs are expected to issue statements on Tuesday.
The order by the Ministry of Economy comes days after the Taliban banned female students from attending universities across the country, sparking protests abroad and demonstrations in major cities. Afghan.
Around midnight on Saturday in the western city of Herat, protesters dispersed earlier with water cannons and people opened their windows and chanted “Allahu Akbar (God is great).” in combination with female students.
In the southern city of Kandahar, also on Saturday, hundreds of male students sat their final semester exams at Mirwais Neeka University. One of them told the Associated Press that Taliban fighters tried to break up the crowd as they left the test center.
“They tried to disperse us so we chanted slogans and then others joined the slogans,” said Akhbari, who gave only his last name. “We didn’t want to move and the Taliban thought we were protesting. The Taliban started shooting their guns in the air. I saw two people being hit, one in the head.
A spokesman for the provincial governor of Kandahar, Ataullah Zaid, denied any criticism. Some people claimed to be students and teachers, he said, but were stopped by students and security forces.