The Taliban orders NGOs to ban employees from coming to work


The Taliban administration in Afghanistan ordered all local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to stop their female employees from coming to work, according to a letter from the Ministry of Economy sent to all licensed NGOs.

Failure to comply will result in revocation of the licenses of the said NGOs, the ministry said.

The ministry in the letter – the validity of which its spokesman Abdul Rahman Habib confirmed to CNN – cited non-compliance with Islamic dress codes and other laws and regulations of the Islamic emirate as reasons for the decision.

“Recently, there have been serious complaints regarding non-compliance with the Islamic hijab and other laws and regulations of the Islamic Emirates,” the letter said, adding that as a result, “directions are being issued to suspend the work of all female employees of national and international NGOs .”

Earlier this week, the Taliban government interrupted university studies for all female students in Afghanistan.

A spokesman for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Higher Education confirmed the university’s suspension to CNN on Tuesday. A letter released by the education ministry said the decision was taken at a cabinet meeting and the order will come into effect immediately.

In a televised press conference on Thursday, the Taliban’s minister of higher education said they had banned women from universities for not following Islamic dress codes and other “Islamic values”, referring to female students traveling without a male guardian. The movement caused outrage among women in Afghanistan.

It marks one more step in the Taliban’s brutal suppression of Afghan women’s freedoms since the hardline Islamist group took over the country in August 2021.

On Saturday, the United Nations condemned the Taliban’s statement.

“Women must be empowered to play a critical role in all aspects of life, including humanitarian response. Banning women from working would violate women’s most basic rights, as well as a clear violation of humanitarian principles,” the UN said in a statement.

“This latest decision will only further hurt the most vulnerable, especially women and girls.”

He also added that he would try to get a meeting with the Taliban leadership to seek clarity.

Amnesty International called for the ban “to be lifted immediately” and for the Taliban to “stop abusing their power”.

“Women and girls should not be penalized for demanding and defending their fundamental rights,” it said in a statement. “The right to work for all people, especially women in Afghanistan, must be fully realized in accordance with international human rights law.”

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also spoke on Saturday. “Deeply concerned that the Taliban’s ban on women delivering humanitarian aid to Afghanistan will prevent vital and life-saving aid for millions,” he tweeted.

“Women are central to humanitarian operations around the world. This decision could be devastating for the Afghan people.

The United States’ special representative for Afghanistan, Thomas West, tweeted Saturday that the Taliban’s latest order was “deeply irresponsible.”

“This poses mortal risks to millions who depend on life-saving aid. The Taliban are neglecting their most basic responsibilities to their people,” West tweeted.

Although the Taliban have repeatedly said they will protect the rights of girls and women, they have actually done the opposite, stripping away the hard-won freedoms they have fought tirelessly for over the past two decades.

Some of the most striking restrictions were related to education, with girls banned from returning to secondary schools in March. The move devastated many students and their families who described their shattered dreams to CNN to become doctors, teachers or engineers.

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