Three foreign NGOs suspend work in Afghanistan over Taliban’s ban on female workers

Three foreign aid groups said Sunday that they are suspending their operations in Afghanistan for now after the Taliban barred all NGOs from employing female staff.

“We cannot effectively reach children, women and men in desperate need in Afghanistan without our female staff,” aid organizations Save the Children, Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE International said in a joint statement Sunday.

“Without women driving our response, we would not have jointly reached millions of Afghans in need since August 2021. Beyond the impact on delivery of lifesaving assistance, this will affect thousands of jobs in the midst of an enormous economic crisis,” said the statement, which was signed by the heads of the three NGOs.

“Whilst we gain clarity on this announcement, we are suspending our programmes, demanding that men and women can equally continue our lifesaving assistance in Afghanistan,” the statement added.

This comes after the Taliban on Saturday ordered all local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to stop their female employees from coming to work.

In a letter from the Taliban’s ministry of economy, which was sent to all licensed NGOs, the group said non-compliance of Islamic dress regulations was the reason for the decision. NGOs were also told that non-compliance will result in their licenses being revoked.