New Delhi: Foreign aid groups on Sunday suspended their operations in Afghanistan after the Taliban banned women from working in NGOs, news agency AP reported.

According to the report, foreign aid groups ‘Save the Children’, ‘Norwegian Refugee Council’ and ‘CARE’ said they cannot effectively reach children, women and men in the country without their female employees. 

Notably, this comes just a week after Taliban banned women from attending universities.

It is to be noted that on Saturday, Taliban-run Afghanistan government ordered all domestic and international non-governmental organisations to prevent the female employees from coming to work.

As per the letter confirmed by Economy Ministry spokesperson Abdulrahman Habib, the female employees were barred from working until further notice as some of them allegedly did not follow the administration’s understanding of the Islamic dress code for women.

Afghanistan has been described as ‘a hell for women’, in the wake of the latest restriction on them, sparking outrage and protests.

Minister for Higher Education, Neda Mohammad Nadeem, issued an order saying, “You all are informed to implement the mentioned order of suspending education of females until further notice.”

On restricting female employees from coming to work, Neil Turner, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s chief for Afghanistan said, “We have complied with all cultural norms and we simply can’t work without our dedicated female staff, who are essential for us to access women who are in desperate need of assistance.”

The university ban has also received broad international condemnation, notably from nations like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. The United States and the G-7 have also issued warnings that the policy will have repercussions for the Taliban.

Despite initially promising a more moderate administration that would protect the rights of women and minorities, the Taliban have widely implemented their interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia, since assuming control in August 2021.

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