Afghanistan: Taliban bans female NGO staff

The Taliban on Saturday ordered domestic and international nongovernment organizations (NGOs) in Afghanistan to immediately ban female staff from coming to work “until further notice.”

This latest move comes just four days after the group banned women from attending university – a move that sparked a global outcry.

Just hours after issuing the latest ban, the United Nations said in a statement that it was “profoundly concerned” by the ban on female NGO staff.

The UN said in a statement on Saturday night that such an order would violate the most fundamental rights of women, as well as be a clear breach of humanitarian principles.

The UN also said it will seek to meet with the Taliban leadership to obtain clarity on the reported order. The organization said that women must be enabled to play a critical role in all aspects of life, including the humanitarian response.

“The UN in Afghanistan and its partners condemn the reported order and remind the de facto authorities that taking away the free will of women to choose their own fate, disempowering 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,” read the statement.

On Saturday afternoon, the Taliban’s ministry of finance issued the order and warned in a formal letter that the work permits of organizations that failed to implement the order would be canceled.

VOA reported late Saturday, that the United States has said it is looking into additional measures to be imposed on the Taliban to further isolate the radical rulers for their “appallingly bad” decision to suspend Afghan women from participating in university-level education. Washington has also ruled out any relief in existing sanctions, including foreign travel bans, on Taliban diplomats.

The Taliban has increasingly excluded women from public life despite repeated promises in the past that they would respect the fundamental rights of all Afghans.