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Thursday, February 2, 2023

UN Official Meets Taliban to Withdraw Ban on Women Working in NGOs

Several NGOs claimed that the Taliban had broken their commitments and disregarded their undertakings

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AFGHANISTAN: To convince the Taliban to lift their prohibition on all women working for relief organizations, the acting head of the UN mission in Afghanistan met with Taliban commanders on Monday.

Din Mohammad Hanif, the Taliban’s minister of the economy, was contacted by Ramiz Alakbarov in Kabul, who informed him that millions of Afghans want “humanitarian assistance and removing barriers is vital.”

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In response to the criticism from abroad, the Taliban’s minister of higher education, Nida Mohammad Nadim, stated that his government would not change its position regarding girls’ access to education “even if they dropped an atomic bomb on us” and that “we are ready for sanctions by the international community.”

In the meantime, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar declared in a statement that all nations worldwide uphold the human rights principle of access to employment. This is the most recent government of a Muslim nation to condemn the Taliban’s action.

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At least seven significant international aid organizations have stopped operating in Afghanistan, which could put the devastated nation’s already fragile economy in danger of collapsing. 

The NGOs are hoping to persuade the Taliban that they have crossed a line that makes it impossible for them to operate by collaborating and demonstrating their solidarity.

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Women make up about a third of the personnel of NGOs, and they are important for offering services in a manner that is respectful of cultural norms. NGOs are subject to the embargo, although as of yet, employees of UN organizations like the World Food Programme and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs are not.

To prevent a ban, the humanitarian organizations met with the Taliban leadership and provided assurances regarding female personnel wearing the hijab and only travelling long distances with a male companion.

However, the NGOs claimed that the Taliban had broken their commitments and disregarded their undertakings.

The action was interpreted as a clear indication by the Taliban that it had decided to reinstate all the oppressive laws against women that it had put in place during its previous rule in the 1990s, effectively putting an end to the idea that the Taliban leadership still reflected the conservative rural Pashtun culture. Many believed the Taliban had changed during their 20 years of exile.

The Taliban also forbade women from enrolling in universities last week. Girls are already prohibited from attending secondary schools, and in November, women were also prohibited from using public swimming pools, gardens, and gyms.

Also Read: Taliban Puts an Education Ban on Women: Afghan Universities Witness Protests

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