Pressure on the Taliban to allow women to work

ISLAMABAD (HPD) — Leaders of major aid groups are pressuring the Taliban to reverse their decision to ban Afghan women from working for national and international non-governmental groups, the UN humanitarian chief said Wednesday.

When the Taliban banned women from working for NGOs last month, major international aid agencies suspended operations in Afghanistan, though some have partially resumed. The move raised fears that millions would be deprived of crucial services. Some 28 million Afghans, more than half the population, require urgent humanitarian aid.

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths and officials from Care International, Save the Children USA and UNICEF were in Afghanistan this week, following a visit by a UN delegation last week that tried to convince the Taliban to end the repression of women and children and the ban on them working for humanitarian organizations.

Speaking from Kabul, Griffiths said the visit was focused on trying to make the Taliban understand the crucial importance of getting aid operations up and running and allowing women to work in them.

“What I heard from the people I met with is that they understand the need and also the right for Afghan women to work and that they will come up with a set of rules to issue in a timely manner that will meet those requirements,” Griffiths said.

Griffiths and the delegation did not travel to Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement, and where the ban was issued by order of Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzdaza.

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