Taliban bans 400 Afghan UN mission women from work

Representational Pic
Representational PicFile/GK

New Delhi, Apr 5: The situation in Afghanistan is concerning, especially for the UN women employees who have been banned from working by the Taliban. It is important to recognize the crucial role that these women play in providing aid to millions of people in Afghanistan who are starving and in need of assistance.

Nearly 400 Afghan women who are UN employees have been banned from working by the Taliban. They are working in different missions of the UN in Afghanistan and providing crucial aid to millions.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has expressed concern over the caretaker government's ban on its female workers in eastern Nangarhar province.

UNAMA tweeted: "The @UNin #Afghanistan expresses serious concern that female national UN staff have been prevented from reporting to work in Nangarhar province." The mission wrote: "We remind de facto authorities that United Nations entities cannot operate and deliver lifesaving assistance without female staff."

Authorities in Nangarhar and Kabul have not yet commented in this regard, but the ruling Taliban has imposed restrictions on women and girls over the past 20 months. The interim government has closed girls' schools above sixth grade and suspended their university education until the subsequent notice. Women and girls have also been banned from working for NGOs, except for a few health institutions. Females have been barred from visiting amusement parks, sports clubs and baths.

Nearly all countries and international organizations have criticized and condemned the move. The ban on working women has attracted much attention on several multilateral platforms.

Earlier, Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the ruling Taliban, defended the decision, insisting the ban was in accordance with Islamic guidelines. He told the media.

In December 2022, the Ministry of Economy issued a letter restricting women and girls from working in domestic and NGOs over the non-observance of hijab. The UN had been exempted then.

Mujahid added: "In compliance with the decree of the Islamic Emirate, which seeks to implement sharia law in the country, women should not go to NGOs, just like government institutions that have been working without women for the past one hand half year." He argued government officials were responsible for the safety and security of all Afghans. Still, they were unable to do this for women working for NGOs because these institutions were not independent and not under government control.

The UN has asked nearly 3,300 of its local staff members in Afghanistan not to come to work for the next 48 hours. During a briefing at the UN headquarters in New York, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said that their female staff in Afghanistan had received "word of an order by the de facto authorities." UN members will meet with Taliban officials in Kabul today and "seek some clarity," Dujarric added.

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