Thursday September 28, 2023

UN aid chief pushes Taliban for more clarity on women aid workers

January 26, 2023

KABUL: The United Nations aid chief said on Wednesday he had urged the Taliban authorities to offer more clarity on humanitarian sectors that could be reopened for Afghan women workers, warning that a “famine was looming” as the country faces a harsh winter.

Afghanistan confronts one of the world´s worst humanitarian crises, aid agencies say, with more than half of its 38 million population facing hunger and nearly four million children suffering from malnutrition.

The crisis was compounded when Taliban leadership banned Afghan women from working with NGOs, forcing several aid agencies to suspend their vital work. In recent weeks, the authorities have allowed women to work in the health sector only. UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, Martin Griffiths, said he hoped that more humanitarian sectors would be reopened for women workers.

“I have been told by a number of Taliban leaders that the Taliban, as an administration, is working on guidelines which will provide more clarity about the role and possibility and hopefully the freedom of women to work in humanitarian work,” Griffiths told AFP in an interview at a UN office in Kabul. “I think it´s really important that we keep the light shining on the process to lead to those guidelines,” he said, wrapping up a visit to Afghanistan. Griffiths led a delegation of senior NGO officials that met several Taliban officials this week in a bid to push them to further relax the ban on women aid workers.