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Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

3 NGOs Suspend Work in Afghanistan after Taliban Bars women


Sun 25 Dec 2022 | 08:40 PM
Israa Farhan

On Sunday, 3 major international aid groups suspended their work in Afghanistan after a decision by the country’s Taliban rulers to ban women from working at non-governmental organizations.

Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council, and CARE said they could not effectively reach children, women, and men in dire need in Afghanistan without women in their workforce.

The NGO ban had been imposed the day before, allegedly because the women were not wearing the Islamic headscarf properly.

The three NGOs provide healthcare, education, child protection, nutrition, and support services amid deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

“We have complied with all cultural norms and we simply can’t work without our dedicated female staff, who are essential for us to access women who are in desperate need of assistance," Neil Turner, the Norwegian Refugee Council's chief for Afghanistan, told The AP on Sunday. 

He mentioned that the group has 468 female staff in the country.

The Taliban's takeover in August 2021 collapsed the Afghan economy and transformed the country, driving millions into poverty and starvation. Foreign aid stopped almost overnight.

Sanctions against the Taliban rulers, halting bank transfers, and freezing billions in Afghanistan's currency reserves had already restricted access to the global institutions and outside funds that underpinned the country's aid-dependent economy before the withdrawal of US and NATO forces.

In a statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross warned that excluding women from schools and NGO work in Afghanistan "can and will lead to catastrophic humanitarian consequences in the short and long term." 

The Taliban also banned female students from universities across the country this week.