Afghanistan’s Taliban-run administration on Saturday ordered all local and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGO) to stop female employees from coming to work, according to an economy ministry letter, in the latest crackdown on women’s freedoms.
The letter, confirmed by economy ministry spokesperson Abdulrahman Habib, said the female employees were not allowed to work until further notice because some had not adhered to the administration’s interpretation of Islamic dress code for women.
It comes days after the Taliban-run administration ordered universities to close to women, prompting strong global condemnation and sparking some protests and heavy criticism inside Afghanistan.
It was not immediately clear how the order would affect United Nations agencies, which have a large presence in Afghanistan delivering services amid the country’s humanitarian crisis.
When asked whether the rules included U.N. agencies, Habib said the letter applied to organizations under Afghanistan’s coordinating body for humanitarian organizations, known as ACBAR. That body does not include the United Nations but includes over 180 local and international NGOs.
However, the United Nations often contracts with NGOs registered in Afghanistan to carry out its humanitarian work.
Aid workers say female workers are critical to ensuring women can access aid.
Copyright 2022 Thomson/Reuters