The Taliban administration in Afghanistan has ordered all local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to prevent their workers from coming to work, according to a letter from the Ministry of Economy sent to all licensed NGOs.
Failure to comply will result in the cancellation of the licenses of these NGOs, the ministry said.
In a letter confirmed to CNN by its spokesman Abdul Rahman Habib, the ministry cited non-compliance with Islamic dress codes and other laws and regulations of the Islamic Emirate as the reason for the decision.
“Recently, there have been serious complaints regarding non-compliance with the Islamic hijab and other laws and regulations of the Islamic Emirate,” the letter said, adding that “as a result” recommendations are being made to suspend all staff of national and international non-governmental organizations. .
Earlier this week, the Taliban government suspended university education for all Afghan students.
A spokesman for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Higher Education confirmed the university’s suspension to CNN on Tuesday. The letter published by the Ministry of Education states that the decision was made at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers and the order will take effect immediately.
In a televised news conference on Thursday, the Taliban’s higher education minister 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 move sparked outrage among women in Afghanistan.
It’s another step in the Taliban’s brutal crackdown on Afghan women’s freedoms since the 2021 a hard-line Islamist group took over the country in August.
The United Nations condemned the Taliban statement on Saturday.
“Women must be empowered to play an important role in all areas of life, including humanitarian aid. Banning women from working would violate women’s basic rights and would also be a clear violation of humanitarian principles,” the UN statement said.
“This latest decision will only further harm the most vulnerable, especially women and girls.”
She also added that she would seek clarity and try to reach an agreement with the Taliban leadership.
UNICEF said the order was “a major disenfranchisement of girls and women (which will have huge implications for the provision of health, nutrition and education services to children).
“UNICEF stands with every girl and woman in Afghanistan and demands that the Taliban immediately allow all women humanitarians to continue their rescue work for vulnerable families and communities,” UNICEF South Asia Regional Director George Laryea-Adjei tweeted.
Amnesty International called for the “immediate lifting of the ban” and for the Taliban to “stop abusing their power”.
“Women and girls should not be penalized for demanding and defending their fundamental rights,” the statement said. “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 Antony Blinken also spoke on Saturday. “Concerned that the Taliban’s ban on women providing humanitarian aid in Afghanistan will disrupt vital and life-saving aid to millions,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Women are the most important humanitarian operations around the world. This decision could be disastrous for the people of Afghanistan.
Thomas West, the US special representative for Afghanistan, tweeted on Saturday that the Taliban’s latest order was “grossly irresponsible”.
“This puts millions of people who depend on rescue aid at mortal risk. The Taliban are ignoring their basic responsibilities to their people,” West tweeted.
While the Taliban has repeatedly claimed to protect the rights of girls and women, it has actually done the opposite, taking away the hard-won freedoms they have fought tirelessly for over the past two decades.
Some of the most prominent restrictions have been on education, with girls banned from returning to secondary schools in March. The move devastated scores of students and their families, who described to CNN their shattered dreams of becoming doctors, teachers or engineers.