The Taliban-controlled Afghanistan government has instructed all local and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to stop allowing women to come to work.
The announcement, which came in a letter from the economy ministry and confirmed by 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.
Ramiz Alakbarov, the U.N. deputy special representative for Afghanistan and humanitarian coordinator, said he was “deeply concerned” by reports of the letter, which was a “clear breach of humanitarian principles”.
It was not immediately clear how the order would affect U.N. agencies, which have a large presence in Afghanistan delivering services amid the country’s humanitarian crisis.
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The U.N. office for humanitarian affairs said the United Nations would try to meet with Taliban leadership to “obtain clarity on the reported order”.
Afghanistan’s already struggling economy has tipped into crisis since the Taliban took over in 2021, with the country facing sanctions and cuts in development aid.
Humanitarian aid, aimed at meeting urgent needs, has provided a lifeline to millions of people. Over half of Afghanistan’s population are reliant on humanitarian aid, according to the International Rescue Committee.
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The announcement comes days after the Taliban stopped allowing women to attend universities despite previously assuring the international community women would be allowed to seek higher education.
Since the collapse of the U.S.-backed Afghan government in 2021, the Taliban has systematically cracked down on women’s rights. Girls have been banned from middle school and high school, women have been restricted from most employment and must wear head-to-toe clothing in public. Women are also banned from parks and gyms.
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Fox News’ Elizabeth Heckman and Reuters contributed to this report