EU, US and UN call on Taliban to lift ban on women’s work

The United States, Britain and the European Union called on the government of Afghanistan, formed by the Taliban (a terrorist organization banned in Russia), to lift the ban on women working in non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This follows from a joint statement of the foreign ministers of 12 countries and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, published on the website of the U.S. State Department.

The statement’s authors called the Taliban’s order banning women from working for national and international nonprofit organizations “reckless and dangerous” because it “puts at risk the lives of millions of Afghans” whose survival depends on humanitarian aid.

“Women play a central role in humanitarian operations. If they are not involved in aid efforts in Afghanistan, NGOs will not be able to reach the country’s most vulnerable people to provide them with food, medicine, winter preparation materials and other services they need to live,” the statement said.

The call to lift the ban on women working in the humanitarian sector and attending schools, universities and public life was made by U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths, as well as the heads of key U.N. agencies and international aid groups. The U.N. said some “time-critical programs in Afghanistan have been suspended, and others may follow.

On December 24, Afghan authorities ordered all local and international nongovernmental organizations not to allow women to work. This ban was explained by the fact that some women do not comply with the dress code, thereby violating the laws of Islam.

Prior to this, the Ministry of Higher Education in the Taliban government ordered the suspension of female students in private and public universities in Afghanistan. In March, female students over sixth grade stopped attending schools in Afghanistan. The Taliban have given assurances that the children will return to educational institutions as soon as an Islamic-compatible environment is created there.