Last week, the Taliban banned women from going to college. Now, the Afghan government is forbidding women from working at non-governmental organizations, or NGOs. As with the university decree, Taliban leaders say that women working for such organizations have been flouting dress codes and not wearing hijabs, reports the Guardian. The ruling appeared to bar all females from working at NGOs, whether they are Afghan or foreign, and at least three major organizations already have suspended operations, per the AP.
“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," said Neil Turner of the Norwegian Refugee Council. The organization has 468 female staffers in the country, he added. The others to suspend operations are CARE and Save the Children, and more may follow. NGOs have a large presence in the war-ravaged nation, delivering health care, education, and nutrition services, among other things.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that women were “central to humanitarian operations around the world” and that the ban would be “devastating” to Afghans because it would “disrupt vital and life-saving assistance to millions." Another practical effect: NGOs are a prime source of employment for Afghan women, who often are their family's sole bread-winner, per the BBC. "If I cannot go to my job, who can support my family?" one asks the outlet. (Read more Taliban stories.)