Taliban ban women from working for NGOs in Afghanistan

Ministry says it received 'serious complaints' about female staff not wearing the 'correct' hijab or headscarf

By AP

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AFP file photo
AFP file photo

Published: Sat 24 Dec 2022, 7:47 PM

The Taliban government on Saturday ordered all foreign and domestic non-governmental groups in Afghanistan to suspend employing women, allegedly because some female employees didn't wear the headscarf correctly.

The order came in a letter from Economy Minister Qari Din Mohammed Hanif, which said that any NGO found not complying with the order will have their operating licence revoked in Afghanistan. The letter's content was confirmed to the news agency by the ministry's spokesman, Abdul Rahman Habib.

The ministry said it had received “serious complaints” about female staff working for NGOs not wearing the “correct" headscarf, or hijab. It was not immediately clear if the order applies to all women or only Afghan women working at the NGOs.

More details were not immediately available on the latest Taliban ban amid concerns that it could be a stepping-stone to more restrictive measures against women in Afghanistan.

Also on Saturday, Taliban security forces used a water cannon to disperse women protesting the ban on university education for women in the western city of Herat, eyewitnesses said. The Taliban rulers on Tuesday banned female students from attending universities effective immediately.

According to eyewitnesses in Herat, about two dozen women were heading to the provincial governor’s house Saturday to protest the ban, chanting: “Education is our right,” when they were pushed back by security forces firing the water cannon.

Video shared with the AP shows the women screaming and hiding in a side street to escape the water cannon. They then resume their protest, with chants of “Disgraceful!”

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