The Taliban’s ban on Afghan women working at NGOs will plunge many more families into poverty, aid agencies say

Amid a deepening humanitarian crisis, aid organizations struggle to find a path forward in Afghanistan

Why It Matters

Afghanistan’s return to Taliban rule was followed by economic upheaval and repressive policies, many of which targeted women, but without female staff, NGOs can’t reach those in need of assistance. Canadian aid organizations need clarity on what the ban means to move forward.

A woman walks past a house in Badakhshan, Afghanistan. (Photo: Joel Heard)

Canadian aid organizations continue to seek clarity following an announcement by Afghanistan’s Taliban administration, which bars Afghan women from working at NGOs in that country.

“There’s a lot of confusion around the ban,” said Reyhana Patel, director of communications and government relations at Islamic Relief Canada. “I’ve just been hearing that the ban doesn’t apply to (United Nations) staff, but I don’t know if that’s true or not. We just don’t have a lot of clarity.”

Taliban officials announced the ban on December 24, 2022, via a letter from Economy Minister Qari Din Mohammed Hanif. According to reports from the Associated Press, the reason given for the restrictive edict was “serious complaints” about hijabs worn by NGO staff

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