Taliban’s ban on women working for NGOs triggers global reactions

The Taliban’s decision to ban women from working at national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has triggered widespread condemnation and has been labeled as “profoundly irresponsible” by the US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West.

The announcement by the Taliban was made late on Saturday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he is deeply concerned about the Taliban’s ban on women from working for NGOs.

“This decision could be devastating for the Afghan people, women are central to humanitarian operations around the world,” he said.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West said the Taliban has forgotten its real responsibilities to its people.

“The Taliban’s decree barring women from working to deliver humanitarian aid is profoundly irresponsible. It poses mortal risks to millions who depend on life-saving assistance,” West said.

“Canada is profoundly concerned by reports that the Taliban have barred women from working with local and international organizations. This is further confirmation of the Taliban’s complete disregard of women’s rights,” Canada’s foreign ministry said.

“We condemn the Taliban’s decision to ban women from working for NGOs and international organizations. It goes against humanitarian principles, further marginalizes women and girls, and impacts the poorest Afghans. We call on the Taliban to reverse this decision,” Australia’s interim mission for Afghanistan said.

United Nations in a statement expressed deep concern about the order and said “the Secretary-General is deeply disturbed by the reported order of the de facto Taliban authorities banning women from working for national and international non-governmental organizations.”

“As a representative of the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan I feel I have the right to an explanation of how the Taliban intends to prevent women and children from starving, when women are no longer permitted to distribute assistance to other women and children,” US Charge de Affaires for Afghanistan, Karen Decker said.

“Women no longer allowed to work for NGOs; another outrageous act against women, including all those that depend on them through fundamental and self-sacrificing NGO work. The ones who suffer are, once again, the helpers and their beneficiaries, i.e., the weakest and most in need,” said Germany’s embassy for Afghanistan.

Norway’s Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeld “strongly condemned” the decision and called for its immediate reversal.

“I strongly condemn the ban on female employees of NGOs in Afghanistan. This decision must be reversed immediately. Norway will review the situation with its partners and issue an appropriate response,” she said.

Meanwhile, sources from Ghazni said that the Taliban on Sunday asked offices of telecommunication companies in the province to stop allowing women into their branches in the province.