Afghan women lose important income source after Taliban ban on NGO work

Kabul, Dec 25 (EFE).- Afghan activists have warned that the Taliban government’s decision to suspend employment for women workers in local and international non-governmental organizations on Saturday has closed one of the most important sources of income for the country’s vulnerable women.

The decision is set to affect thousands of families that depend on income generated by women through humanitarian work in an economy that has almost collapsed once international funds dried up following the Taliban’s ascent to power in August 2021.

“Like me, thousands of girls and women are the main financial supporter of their families. The females are not allowed to work in government organizations, and now they are suspended from working in NGOs, so there is no livelihood for us to survive on,” Meena Noorzai, a call center worker at an international nonprofit, told EFE.

She said that hundreds of local NGOs, backed by international nonprofits, are working to “empower women in Afghanistan” and therefore the ban would result in a setback for Afghan women’s rights.

The order could also result in nonprofits based in Afghanistan suspending their operations and the country stops receiving essential economic aid to provide humanitarian assistance to millions of families facing a critical situation.

“There are thousands of national and International NGOs working in Afghanistan” that have distributed aid worth “billions of US dollars in humanitarian aid” which will be affected by the measure, social activist Nahid Noori told EFE.

The latest curb comes days after the Taliban banned university education for women, following other restrictions imposed by the regime since the insurgents seized power, such as banning teenage girls from attending school, segregation of men and women in public places, making it mandatory for women to wear the veil in public and be accompanied by a male relative on long journeys.

Even though the fundamentalists promised last year to respect women’s rights in order to gain international recognition, the reality of women in Afghanistan is increasingly similar to the time under the previous Taliban regime (1996-2001), when they were totally excluded from public life without any possibility to study or work.

“Women cannot get an education, women cannot travel outside the country, women are not allowed to get higher education, women are not allowed to get a job in the government, and now women are not allowed to do jobs in NGOs,” Noor stressed.

After widespread international condemnation over their curbs on women’s freedom in the country, the Taliban have said that some of the restrictions – such as the suspension of university education – are temporary and claimed that the government is “committed” to ensuring human rights, as long as they are in line with Islamic law or Shariah. EFE


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