After the Taliban decreed that women may not, effective immediately, work for non-governmental organisations, a number of organisations providing aid in Afghanistan have temporarily ceased activities.
On December 24, the Taliban claimed that the exclusion of female employees was due to some of them not dressing according to their understanding of the Islamic dress code for women.
Care International, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), and Save the Children declared in a joint statement that they would be unable to concentrate their efforts “without our female workers.”
“Whilst we gain clarity on this announcement, we are suspending our programmes, demanding that men and women can equally continue our lifesaving assistance in Afghanistan.”
The aid organisations are “demanding” that women keep working for them.
Afghan government Women’s rights have been systematically suppressed by the Taliban.
The Taliban’s recent prohibition on women attending universities was followed just a few days later by an order regarding NGOs.
The Taliban’s ministry of economy’s spokesman, Abdel Rahman Habib, asserted that female employees of the foreign aid organisations had violated dress standards by refusing to wear hijabs.
Any organisation that did not immediately abide by the restriction would risk having its licence revoked, according to the Taliban.
Despite vowing that their administration would be more tolerant than the one in the 1990s, the Taliban has systematically weakened women’s rights since regaining control of the nation last year.
In addition to the prohibitions on NGO employees and female university students, which are now being enforced by armed guards, secondary schools for girls are still shut down in the majority of regions.
In addition, many government employment for women have been eliminated, they are not allowed to travel alone without a male relative, and they are required to wear a burqa outside the house to cover up.
Moreover, women have been denied access to parks and gyms, among other public spaces.