A senior United Nations (UN) official has met with the deputy prime minister of the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan to discuss a ban on women working for non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The ban, which has prompted major international aid agencies to suspend operations in the country, has raised fears that people will be deprived of critical services such as food, education, and healthcare, as over half of Afghanistan’s population requires urgent humanitarian assistance. Aid agencies have warned that the ban will have catastrophic consequences and that “hundreds and thousands” of Afghans will die as a result.
The deputy head of the UN Mission in Afghanistan, Potzel Markus, also discussed other measures, including a ban on women attending universities, with Maulvi Abdul Salam Hanafi. According to the UN Women’s Department, 86% of the 151 groups surveyed have either quit or are only partially operating as a result of the prohibition, and the lack of women in relief delivery has had a severe impact on the Afghan population.