Taliban authorities in the southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan have ordered female aid workers to stop working at refugee projects.
Citing an official letter to the departments of the Taliban’s refugee ministry, Reuters reported that the Taliban accused aid agencies of violating their orders in Spin Boldak, a town close to the neighboring Pakistan district of Kandahar.
Reuters reported that the letter was confirmed by a spokesperson for the provincial governor.
“All partner organizations that are working with the Department of Refugees and Repatriation of Spin Boldak… should ask their female colleagues not to come to their work and stay at home until further notice,” the letter said.
Meanwhile, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordination office has confirmed they are aware of the instruction and are seeking clarification on the matter.
According to the report, the letter underscored the prevailing uncertainty in the operating environment for aid agencies in Afghanistan.
The Taliban this year banned women from working with the United Nations and its agencies in Afghanistan, which provoked worldwide condemnation. The Taliban, however, said that it was an internal matter.
Aid organizations were also seeking exemptions to enable female staff from Afghanistan to work in order to provide the people with humanitarian assistance.