On Tuesday, the UN reported that the Taliban has barred its female employees in Afghanistan from working for any non-governmental groups.
“Our colleagues on the ground at the UN mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) received word of an order by the de facto authorities that bans female national staff members of the UN from working,” Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary General António Guterres, said in a briefing at UN headquarters in New York.
Dujarric stated, “We are still investigating how this development would affect our operations in the country.” In an effort to clarify the situation, “we anticipate having additional meetings with the de facto authorities tomorrow in Kabul.”
The official went on to suggest that Guterres would find this kind of prohibition to be “frankly inconceivable.”
As far as Dujarric is concerned, the prohibition extends countrywide in Afghanistan.
U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported earlier on Tuesday that “female national UN staff have been prevented from reporting to work in Nangarhar province.”
Female employees are crucial for the United Nations to provide lifesaving relief, Dujarric added; “it goes without saying, but unfortunately it does need saying.” As we witnessed today, “such orders” run counter to the concept of nondiscrimination and undermine the basic human rights of women.
The Taliban issued a decree in December ordering all NGOs, both domestic and international, to temporarily suspend the employment of all female employees. This prompted outrage from Western countries and international institutions, who threatened to cease operations in the crisis-stricken country unless the decree was rescinded.
The Taliban later clarified that the prohibition did not apply to United Nations workers, international workers, or health and nutrition workers for women a few days after the initial declaration.
The Taliban retook control in August of 2021 and immediately instituted a new set of laws that discriminated against women and girls.