Major non-governmental organisations (ngos) have recently halted work in afghanistan after the taliban issued a ban on women working for them. the aid groups are demanding that women can continue to work for them, as the latest edict on ngos came just days after the taliban also banned women from attending university. jan egeland of the norwegian refugee council (nrc) said nearly 500 of the aid group’s 1400 workers were women, and that female staff had been operating according to all traditional values.
Ban was issued in 2021, when the taliban retook control of afghanistan two decades after being removed from power by a us-led military coalition. the leaders of care, the nrc and save the children said the organisations would not have jointly reached millions of afghans in need since august 2021 were it not for their female staff.
Rahman habib, spokesman for the taliban’s ministry of economy, claimed female workers at the foreign aid groups had broken dress codes by not wearing hijabs. the taliban threatened to cancel the licence of any organisation that did not swiftly comply with the ban. female afghan ngo workers acting as the main earners in their household previously told the bbc of their fear and helplessness following the ban. the ban triggered international outcry, with us secretary of state antony blinken warning it would “disrupt vital and life-saving assistance to millions”.