CARE to resume work after Taliban allows female staff to return

CARE International said Monday it will resume some operations in Afghanistan after obtaining assurances from the Taliban that its female staff members can return to work and carry out their functions safely.

In a statement issued by the organization, CARE stated it “will be resuming its health and nutrition operations in Afghanistan after obtaining the necessary assurances from the (Taliban) Ministry of Public Health that our female staff will be able to carry out their work safely and unfettered, both in community-based and support roles.”

CARE suspended operations following the December 24 decision by the Taliban to ban women from working for NGOs.

According to their statement, women employees are an essential part of their organization and without them they cannot deliver a “principled response” to the people of Afghanistan.

CARE stated they “welcome the opportunity to resume our health and nutrition operations given the scope of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.”

The organization also stated they are hopeful that the ban on women working for NGOs will be reversed, but that in the meantime they will continue to look for ways to move forward that will allow both female and male workers to provide life-saving work.

CARE is the second organization to resume some activities in the country after the December 24 ban. On Sunday, Save the Children announced they will start providing assistance once again after being given “clear, reliable assurances from relevant authorities that our female staff will be safe and can work without obstruction”

In a statement issued Sunday, Save the Children said: “While the majority of our programs remain on hold, we are restarting some activities – such as health, nutrition and some education services.”

Save the Children warned that the ban on female NGO workers – on top of the existing humanitarian crisis – will drive up the needs of children and have a huge ripple effect. It will mean fewer women and girls are reached with essential support; it will mean more children are forced into labor and marriage because of the pressure on households who would otherwise be receiving cash and livelihoods assistance; it will mean tens of thousands of jobs are put at risk across the sector.

The Taliban has not yet commented on either of the announcements.