UN says its female staffers banned from working in Afghanistan | Taliban News

UN says its female staffers banned from working in Afghanistan | Taliban News

The United Nations has reportedly asked all staff not to come to the office for 48 hours.

The Taliban have issued an order to ban Afghan women United Nations staff from working across Afghanistan, according to a UN spokesman.

Stephane Dujarric said it was the latest in a “disturbing trend” undermining the ability of aid organizations to work in Afghanistan, where some 23 million people, more than half the country’s population, need help.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres would consider any ban on Afghan women working for the United Nations in their country “unacceptable and, frankly, unthinkable,” he said.

Spokesmen for the Taliban administration and the Afghan information ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Reuters news agency.

Two UN sources told Reuters that concerns about the implementation of the ban had prompted the United Nations to ask all staff not to come to the office for 48 hours.

“We are still looking into how this development will affect our operations in the country and we expect to have more meetings with the de facto authorities tomorrow in Kabul. We are trying to seek some clarity,” said Dujarric. “We don’t have anything in writing at the moment.”

The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) earlier on Tuesday expressed concern that female staff in the eastern province of Nangarhar had been banned from reporting to work.

“UN National Staff [male and female] will not come to the UN offices for 48 hours because of a threat to implement a ban on female national staff in light of the implementation starting today in Jalalabad,” a senior UN official told Reuters. referring to the capital of Nangarhar.

Friday and Saturday are normally weekend days at UN offices in Afghanistan, meaning staff would not return until Sunday at the earliest.

The Taliban administration, which took power after US-led forces withdrew from Afghanistan after 20 years of war, says it respects women’s rights in accordance with its interpretation of Islamic law.

Since toppling the Western-backed government in Kabul, the Taliban have tightened controls on women’s access to public life, including banning women from university and closing most girls’ high schools.

In December, Taliban authorities banned most female NGO workers from working, which aid workers have said has made it harder to reach female beneficiaries and could cause donors to withhold funds.

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