Following the ban on university education, the de facto regime in Afghanistan again jabbed at women’s rights by ordering all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to refrain from employing women.
The decree announced in a letter from the Economy Minister of Afghanistan, Qari Din Mohammed Hanif, and confirmed by the ministry’s spokesperson, Abdulrahman Habib, mentioned that women employees will not be allowed to work until further notice.
Furthermore, the threat of cancellation lingers, as it obligates NGOs to comply.
The recent order and the ban on university education for women have prompted strong global criticism and sparked some protests in Afghanistan.
When asked whether the rules include the United Nations (UN) agencies, which have a significant presence in Afghanistan, Habib clarified that the rules are applied to all organizations under Afghanistan’s coordinating body for humanitarian organizations, ACBAR. (Al Jazeera)
It does not include the UN, but the UN regularly contracts with registered NGOs in Afghanistan to carry out humanitarian work.
The statement issued by the UN spokesperson on Saturday concluded: “The effective delivery of humanitarian assistance requires full, safe, and unhindered access for all aid workers, including women. The reported ban on women working with the international community to save lives and livelihoods in Afghanistan will cause further untold hardship for the people of Afghanistan.” (UN News)
In addition, the UN in Afghanistan and its partners condemn the reported order. “Taking away the free will of women to choose their fate, disempowering them, and excluding them systematically from all aspects of public and political life takes the country backward, jeopardizing efforts for any meaningful peace or stability in the country.”
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said: “Women are central to humanitarian operations around the world. This decision could be devastating for the Afghan people.”
Implementing what it perceives
In spite of the Taliban government saying in August 2021 that it would be less rigid than the regime that ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s, it continues to enforce its interpretation of Islamic law in the country.
The reported order could affect donors and the decision-making capabilities of organizations working in desperate conditions, and the abrupt stop in operations would create a chain reaction as it could further impact the delivery of aid, particularly to the most vulnerable women.