The Taliban administration in Afghanistan has ordered all local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to stop their female employees from coming to work, according to a letter sent by the Ministry of Economy to all licensed NGOs.
Failure to comply will result in the cancellation of the licenses of the said NGOs, the ministry said.
The ministry in the letter — the validity of which was confirmed to CNN by its spokesman Abdul Rahman Habib — cited non-compliance with Islamic dress codes and other laws and regulations of the Islamic emirate as reasons for the decision.
“There have been recent serious complaints regarding non-compliance with Islamic hijab and other Islamic Emirate laws and regulations,” the letter said, resulting in “a directive to suspend the employment of all female employees of national and international non-governmental organizations. .”
Earlier this week, the Taliban government suspended university education 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 issued by the Ministry of Education said that this decision was taken in a cabinet meeting and the order will come into effect immediately.
In a televised news conference on Thursday, the Taliban’s minister of higher education said it had banned women from universities who did not adhere to Islamic dress codes and other “Islamic values”. The move has sparked outrage among women in Afghanistan.
It marks another step in the Taliban’s brutal crackdown on the freedoms of Afghan women since the hardline Islamist group took over the country in August 2021.
The United Nations condemned the announcement by the Taliban on Saturday.
“Women must play an important role in all aspects of life, including humanitarian response. Banning women from working is a violation of women’s fundamental rights and a clear violation of humanitarian principles,” the UN said.
“This latest decision will further hurt the most vulnerable, especially women and girls.”
It also said it would hold a meeting with the Taliban leadership to try to clarify.
Amnesty International called for the ban to be “immediately withdrawn” and for the Taliban to “stop abusing their power”.
“Women and girls should not be punished for demanding and protecting 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. “Taliban ban on women humanitarian aid in Afghanistan disrupts life-saving aid for millions,” she wrote on Twitter.
“Women are at the center of humanitarian operations around the world. This decision will be devastating for the people of Afghanistan.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West tweeted on Saturday that the Taliban’s latest order was “deeply irresponsible”.
“This poses mortal risks to millions who rely on life-saving aid. The Taliban are ignoring their most basic responsibilities to their people,” West tweeted.
While the Taliban have repeatedly claimed to protect the rights of women and girls, they have actually done the opposite, taking away the freedoms they have fought tirelessly for over the past two decades.
Some of its most notable restrictions have been around education, with girls banned from returning to secondary schools in March. The move devastated many students and their families, who described to CNN their dreams of becoming doctors, teachers or engineers.