Taliban defends its decision to ban UN female employees

The Taliban on Wednesday took umbrage over the United Nations’ decision to suspend activities in the country following the ban of local female staff and said they did not want to create obstacles for the UN but wants to “make it clear that this is an internal issue of Afghanistan.”

According to a statement issued by the Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Wednesday, the UN’s statement a day early Tuesday that their decision to ban local female staff from working for the UN is an internal issue which should “be respected by all sides.”

On Tuesday, the UN reiterated its ‘unequivocal condemnation’ of a decision by the Taliban to ban Afghan women from working for the UN in Afghanistan.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the UN office in Afghanistan said it is the latest in a series of discriminatory measures implemented by the Taliban with the goal of severely restricting women and girls’ participation in most areas of public and daily life in Afghanistan.

The ban is unlawful under international law, including the UN Charter, and for that reason the United Nations cannot comply, their statement read.

UNAMA said that through this ban, the Taliban seek to force the United Nations into having to make an appalling choice between staying and delivering in support of the Afghan people and standing by the norms and principles they are duty-bound to uphold. The organization also said that any negative consequences of this crisis will be the responsibility of the de facto authorities, UNAMA said.

The UN also stated Tuesday that all of its local staff had been sent home until at least early May.

The Taliban meanwhile said in its reaction on Wednesday that their decision to ban local women from working for the UN in Afghanistan did not mean “is discrimination” noor was the intention there to create “obstacles to the functions of the United Nations; on the contrary, considering the religious and cultural interests, we are committed to all the rights of our people.”

However, the Taliban blamed the humanitarian crisis in the country on continued sanctions and pressure imposed on them due to financial and banking system restrictions.

The Taliban also blamed other issues for the crisis including travel bans and the freezing for foreign reserves. “Considering the needs and the current situation of Afghanistan, it is necessary that the member countries of the United Nations resolve the problem of freezing Afghan assets, banking, travel bans and other restrictions so that Afghanistan can progress in the economic, political and security areas,” the statement read.

In conclusion, Mujahid said: “Afghans have the capacity to stand on their own feet.”