Three aid agencies have suspended their work in crisis-hit Afghanistan after learning that the Taliban would refuse to hire female workers.
Aid organizations Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE say the end of the Taliban regime is preventing them from reaching the most desperate children, women and men in Afghanistan, so they are forced to stop their work in the country. Further notice.
– As soon as we get clarity on this announcement, we are suspending our work in Afghanistan. “We demand that men and women continue to provide our life-saving assistance equally,” said a joint statement by the three organizations.
The Taliban on Saturday ordered all non-governmental organizations not to allow female employees to come to work. According to an official letter from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Industry, this applies to both foreign and Afghan organizations.
Taliban Refuse Women to Work: Foreign Minister Condemns
The Taliban orders all non-governmental organizations not to allow female employees to come to work.
– From crisis to disaster
– CARE Norway’s Secretary General Kaj-Martin Georgsen tells NTB that it is absolutely impossible for CARE, which works especially with women and girls, to be without female staff when we provide health, education, financial aid and life-saving emergency aid.
– Many women are kept inside the four walls of the house and the only way we can reach out to those who need help is through our hundreds of women helpers, she says.
Georgeson says he hopes the Taliban will realize the decision was wrong and the international community must react.
– Afghanistan has already gone from crisis to disaster. More people die of starvation. The Secretary General says that poor people are selling their children to buy their daily bread.
– He says that if the Taliban do what they say now, it will be a dark and cold winter in Afghanistan, which will bring people into a humanitarian disaster that we cannot imagine.
Work from home
The Red Cross, which has had a presence in Afghanistan since 2002, is also closely monitoring the situation. However, the Taliban’s announcement means all female employees of the organization in Afghanistan will have to work from home until further notice.
– Together with our colleagues at the Afghanistan Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross, we are working to get an overview of our operations and what this means for the many talented female staff and volunteers, says Øistein Mjærum, Director of Communications at the Red Cross. NDP
– Until now, all female employees had to work from home.
According to the Red Cross, the situation in Afghanistan is worse than ever, as people are starving, millions need health care and thousands are on the run.
The decision to deny female aid workers will seriously affect humanitarian work in Afghanistan, the UN said.
Aid organizations say female workers are particularly important in Afghanistan, where rules and customs often prevent male workers from providing emergency aid to female recipients.
The UN estimates that more than half of the population does not have enough food to survive and is now in need of humanitarian assistance. This will double from 2020 and more than six times what it was in 2017.
The Taliban regained power in Afghanistan in August 2021, and Western forces became serious about long-delayed plans to withdraw. The movement last held power in the country from 1996 until it was overthrown in 2001 by a coalition of US-backed militias.
During the previous period of Taliban rule, human rights and people’s freedoms were severely violated. Women were particularly affected. This time, Taliban representatives promised it would be different, but recently many restrictions have been introduced for women in the country.
The new ban comes days after the Taliban ordered the country’s universities to no longer teach women. This has been condemned by the international community and protest has also been raised in Afghanistan.
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