3 NGOs droop work in Afghanistan after Taliban bar girls

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Three main worldwide support teams on Sunday suspended their operations in Afghanistan following a choice by the nation’s Taliban rulers to ban girls from working at non-governmental organizations.

Save the Kids, the Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE mentioned they can not successfully attain youngsters, ladies and men in determined want in Afghanistan with out the ladies of their workforces. The NGO ban was launched a day earlier, allegedly as a result of girls weren’t carrying the Islamic headband appropriately.

The three NGOs present healthcare, schooling, youngster safety and diet companies and assist amid plummeting humanitarian circumstances.

“We have complied with all cultural norms and we simply can’t work without our dedicated female staff, who are essential for us to access women who are in desperate need of assistance,” Neil Turner, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s chief for Afghanistan, instructed The Related Press on Sunday. He mentioned the group has 468 feminine employees within the nation.

The Taliban takeover in August 2021 despatched Afghanistan’s financial system right into a tailspin and reworked the nation, driving hundreds of thousands into poverty and starvation. International support stopped nearly in a single day. Sanctions on Taliban rulers, a halt on financial institution transfers and frozen billions in Afghanistan’s foreign money reserves have already restricted entry to world establishments and the surface cash that supported the nation’s aid-dependent financial system earlier than the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces.

Final month, in an interview with the AP, a prime official from the Worldwide Committee of the Pink Cross, Martin Schuepp, mentioned extra Afghans will battle for survival as dwelling circumstances deteriorate within the yr forward and the nation braces for its second winter beneath Taliban rule.

The U.S. warned the NGO ban will disrupt important and life-saving help to hundreds of thousands.

“Women are central to humanitarian operations around the world,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned Saturday. “This decision could be devastating for the Afghan people.”

The U.N. Secretary-Normal Antonio Guterres mentioned he was deeply disturbed by experiences of the NGO ban.

“The United Nations and its partners, including national and international non-governmental organizations, are helping more than 28 million Afghans who depend on humanitarian aid to survive,” he mentioned in a press release.

The Worldwide Rescue Committee mentioned it was dismayed by the Taliban resolution, including that greater than 3,000 of its employees in Afghanistan are girls. It was not instantly clear if it’s also suspending operations.

The NGO order got here in a letter on Saturday from Economic system Minister Qari Din Mohammed Hanif. It mentioned any group discovered not complying with the order may have their license revoked in Afghanistan. Ministry spokesman, Abdul Rahman Habib, declined to remark Sunday on the NGOs’ resolution to droop their operations or give particulars in regards to the ban.

The flurry of rulings from the all-male and religiously-driven Taliban authorities are harking back to their rule within the late Nineteen Nineties, once they banned girls from schooling and public areas and outlawed music, tv and lots of sports activities.

The Economic system Ministry’s order comes days after the Taliban banned feminine college students from attending universities throughout the nation, triggering backlash abroad and demonstrations in main Afghan cities.

At round midnight Saturday within the western metropolis of Herat, the place earlier protesters had been dispersed with water cannons, individuals opened their home windows and chanted “Allahu Akbar (God is great)” in solidarity with feminine college students.

Within the southern metropolis of Kandahar, additionally on Saturday, lots of of male college students boycotted their remaining semester exams at Mirwais Neeka College. One in every of them instructed The Related Press that Taliban forces tried to interrupt up the gang as they left the examination corridor.

“They tried to disperse us so we chanted slogans, then others joined in with the slogans,” mentioned Akhbari, who solely gave his final identify. “We refused to move and the Taliban thought we were protesting. The Taliban started shooting their rifles into the air. I saw two guys being beaten, one of them to the head.”

A spokesman for the Kandahar provincial governor, Ataullah Zaid, denied there was a protest. There have been some individuals who had been pretending to be college students and lecturers, he mentioned, however they had been stopped by college students and safety forces.

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