The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a statement reiterated its “commitment to stay and deliver on behalf of the men, women and children of Afghanistan.”
UNAMA earlier suspended the work of all its Afghan national staff by following a ban on its female workers by the interim government.
On Saturday, a source from a UN agency in Afghanistan told TOLOnews that the suspension has been extended for an undetermined length of time.
UNAMA said that following the imposition of the ban on women working in NGOs, it conducted extensive consultations with multiple Afghan stakeholders, including civil society and women’s groups, member states and donors.
“Lifting restrictions and impediments on the United Nations and national and international NGOs on the delivery of aid and programmes supporting Afghans is essential,” UNAMA said.
Speaking to reporters, the UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said UN operations are clearly “impeded for the reasons we have described, and until the de facto authorities change their policies, our position on the need to allow all staff, men and women, to work in communities in Afghanistan remains unchanged.”
The World Food Program’s Executive Director, Cindy McCain, in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour said that they have “no intention of stopping our support” for the Afghans.
“It’s a tough country. As long as we can stay on the ground in a safe manner and be able to deliver assistance, we will,” she said.
McCain made the remarks after a question about the UN and other aid agencies threatening to walk back aid in reaction to the ban on female work.
The deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, Bilal Karimi, said that there are no restrictions ahead of the continuation of work of UN staff in Afghanistan.
“There are no restrictions on the continuation of the (UN staff) work,” he said.
This comes as UN Special Rapporteur Richard Bennett and the Chair of the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls, Dorothy Estrada-Tanck, in a report shared their preliminary observations and expressed “deep regret” on the “continuing deterioration of human rights situation in the country, plagued by decades of conflict and historical human rights violations affecting all members of society, in particular women and girls, as well as minorities."
“In meetings with the de facto authorities, they noted that women were working in the health, education and business sector, and that they were ensuring that women could work according to Sharia, separated from men. The de facto authorities reiterated their message that they were working on the reopening of schools, without providing a clear timeline and indicated that the international community should not interfere in the country’s internal affairs,” the UN said in a statement citing the two experts.