Save the Children, others suspend Afghanistan efforts after Taliban bar on female staff

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KABUL (Reuters) – Four international aid agencies, including Save the Children, said on Wednesday they were suspending humanitarian programs in Afghanistan after the Taliban government ordered a moratorium on women workers.

The government on Saturday ordered all domestic and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) not to employ female workers until further notice. The globally condemned move was justified because some women did not follow the Taliban’s interpretation of the Islamic dress code for women.

Three NGOs, Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Care International, said in a joint statement that they were suspending the program as they waited for clarification from the government’s mandate.

“Without our female staff, we cannot effectively reach out to the children, women and men in desperate need in Afghanistan,” the statement said, noting that if women do not step up their efforts, there will be no support since last August. could not have reached the millions of Afghans in need, he added.

Separately, the International Rescue Commission (IRC) said in a statement that it was suspending its services in the country, citing similar reasons.The IRC employs more than 8,000 people in Afghanistan. of which more than 3,000 were women.

At a time when more than half the population is dependent on humanitarian aid, aid agencies say several aid programs accessed by millions of Afghans have been suspended, the coldest season in the mountainous country. occurs in

Save the Children, the Norwegian Refugee Council and CARE International also highlighted how the ban on female staff is affecting thousands of jobs amid the economic crisis.

Earlier, the international aid agency Afghan Aid said it immediately halted its activities while it consulted with other organisations, and said other NGOs were taking similar actions.

Afghanistan’s International Committee of the Red Cross also expressed concern on Sunday at the move and the previous ban on women from attending college, warning it would have “devastating humanitarian consequences in the short and long term.”

“Obligation to obey”

Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid countered the criticism, saying any agency wishing to operate in Afghanistan was obliged to follow the country’s rules.

“No one will be allowed to gossip or threaten our leaders’ decisions in the name of humanitarian assistance,” Mujahid, the head of the US Mission in Afghanistan, said in a Twitter post. mentioned the statement of

Chargé d’affaires Karen Decker asked on Twitter how the Taliban planned to prevent starvation among women and children after the ban. She noted that the United States is the country’s largest donor of humanitarian aid.

Reported by Kabul Newsroom. Written by Gibran Peshimam.Edited by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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