Taliban bans women from working at NGOs

Amy Niu

In Afghanistan, the Taliban has further stifled women's rights by banning them from working at non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

In a letter sent by the Ministry of Economy, the administration has ordered NGOs to prevent female staff members from coming to work. Failure to comply with the ruling would result in the organizations getting their licenses revoked.

The move comes just days after female students were banned from studying at university. The United Nations, as well as many NGOs themselves, have condemned the ruling.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken commented on Twitter, "Women are central to humanitarian operations around the world. This decision could be devastating to the Afghan people."

The Islamist rulers explained that NGO employees were not wearing hijabs, and were thus breaking Sharia law.

NGOs have expressed concerns that female employees are critical to their operations, adding that they may not be able to dispense aid if women and men were not allowed to work together. This is because they may work in a country where cultural mores prevent male aid workers from delivering aid to female beneficiaries.

Women in Kabul protest the ban on female university students.Photo byReuters

In addition to the ban on female university students, a ruling which is now enforced by armed guards on college campuses, secondary schools for girls remain closed in most provinces. They will not be able to return to school in March. Also among the places women are not allowed to enter are parks and gardens.

Despite promising that its rule would be less strict than that seen in 1990s Afghanistan, the Taliban continues to curtail women's rights in the country since they came into power in August of last year. These moves have been met with protests inside Afghanistan, in addition to global condemnation.

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