UN, NGO Officials Meet in Kabul After Taliban Ban Women From Working for Them
Officials from the United Nations and from dozens of nongovernmental organizations operating in Afghanistan met in Kabul today to discuss what to do hours after the Taliban ordered all NGOs working in Afghanistan to stop employing women due to their noncompliance with laws requiring the wearing of the hijab. The meeting will discuss whether to suspend all aid work following the order. Three NGOs immediately announced the halt of operations in Afghanistan: Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE. Those organizations say they cannot effectively reach children, women and men in desperate need in Afghanistan without the women in their workforces. One of them, the Norwegian Refugee Council, says it has 468 female staff members in the country. “There have been serious complaints regarding the nonobservance of the Islamic hijab and other rules and regulations pertaining to the work of females in national and international organizations,” said a notification sent to all NGOs, according to the French news agency AFP, which saw a copy of the directive. The organizations were ordered to stop allowing women to work in Afghanistan “until further notice,” and warned that if this order is not adhered to, the NGO’s license will be “canceled.” The Taliban, who took over and announced the formation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan at the end of August 2021 when the last US and other foreign troops left the country, last week suspended university education for all women in Afghanistan, effective immediately. The announcement came two weeks after the Taliban allowed girls to take their high school graduation exams, despite not being in a classroom since the Islamist group took over and prevented girls from studying in high schools. The Taliban have been barring women from entering public spaces including parks, gyms, and entertainment venues, requiring them to wear burqas and face coverings and requiring a male escort in public.