The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that the ban on Afghan women working for national and international NGOs had already disrupted humanitarian operations, even though aid agencies remain on the ground delivering life-saving assistance to millions of people.
“This includes the delivery of food assistance to 11.5 million people in January and February, health services to 2.5 million people, safe and clean water to 1 million people, and education to 482,000 children (280,000 of them girls),” OCHA said in a report.
“The ban on female workers has had a negative impact on the economy and the rise in poverty in the country,” said Mir Shikib Mir, an economist.
“There should be a role for women in education and medicine as well as other sectors of economy,” said Suraya Paikan, a women’s rights activist.
This comes as the Secretary General for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Jan Egeland, back in Afghanistan, said it has been five months since “we suffered the ban on female work in humanitarian groups.”
In Kandahar, he said “I urge Taliban leaders to give us a timeframe for when all our female colleagues can resume work for those in need.”
“Only women can reach women. We will not work with men only,” Egeland said.
The Islamic Emirate meanwhile said that women are working in areas where they are needed.
“Regarding the work of women, I should say that in all of the areas where women are needed, they are working there. You are aware this is the case in the Ministries of Public Health, Education, Finance and the department of passports, as well as in the airports and other areas,” said deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate, Bilal Karimi.
Earlier, UN Women in a statement said the latest restrictions on women in Afghanistan have uniquely impacted UN women.
The statement said that since 4 April 2023, all national staff including men and women have worked from home.