Three major non-governmental organizations have suspended their operations in Afghanistan. On Saturday, the Taliban announced a ban on women working in domestic and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the country. After that, the NGOs announced this decision on Sunday.
The three organizations are CARE International, The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Save the Children. The organizations said in a joint statement today that they are unable to operate without ‘women workers’. Non-governmental organizations “demand” that women can start working for them.
The Taliban issued the new order within days of ending women’s university studies. It is said that if the ban is not followed, the licenses of the organizations will be cancelled.
Abdel Rahman Habib, spokesman for the Taliban’s Ministry of Economic Affairs, claimed that women workers working in international aid organizations do not follow the dress code.
The heads of these three organizations said that if the organizations did not get the support of the women here, they would not have been able to jointly reach out to the needs of millions of Afghans since August 2021.
The statement said, “After hearing this order from the Taliban, we have suspended our operations.” I demand that men and women can cooperate equally in the life-saving operations we are conducting in Afghanistan.
UN humanitarian chief Ramiz Alkbarov said the UN is trying to lift the ban. It is “a red line for the entire humanitarian community.”
The official told the BBC the United Nations could stop humanitarian aid if the Taliban does not lift a ban on women working in the country’s NGOs.
However, it is not clear what the Taliban actually meant by their order, said Ramiz. The UN official said the Taliban’s health minister told the UN that the organization could continue its health-related work and that “women can also continue their work”.
Other ministers spoke directly to the UN. They said that work should continue in disaster management areas and in emergency situations.
NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland said there are 1,400 women workers in about 500 aid agencies. They follow all the traditional values, dress code, behavior rules. And boys and girls were working separately in the office too.
Jan Egeland hopes the ban will be lifted within days. Otherwise, millions of people will have to suffer if the work of NGOs is stopped.