Region of Concern: Afghanistan
Written By Cayla Lee; Edited by Claire Bracco
Date: December 24, 2022
Event: On December 24, the Taliban issued a prohibition statement against Afghan women working in local and international NGOs operating in the country. The letter to NGOs mentioned that some women failed to adhere to the Islamic dress code as interpreted by the Taliban. The Ministry of Economy claimed it had received serious complaints regarding incorrect headscarf and hijab wear. The regime said it will suspend NGOs’ licenses if they fail to comply with the new measures. It was unclear whether foreign women or UN staff would also be affected. This new measure comes just days after the Taliban banned women from attending universities in Afghanistan.
Significance: It is almost certain that the Taliban will continue reducing women’s rights to access other jobs, public spaces, and services. The absence of women and fewer staff members will very likely hinder NGOs’ ability to provide aid in normal capacities, almost certainly reducing their impact. NGOs will likely limit or suspend operations in defiance of the measure, which will very likely affect aid recipients’ ability to access resources. Suitable daily living conditions will very likely decline. Women’s rights supporters will likely stage more demonstrations to protest recent measures implemented by the regime. The Taliban will likely retaliate against people and assert dominance by declaring more oppressing measures or by escalating to violence. Some countries, such as the EU and US, are likely to impose additional sanctions to show their contempt for the Taliban’s actions. Additional sanctions will unlikely deter the Taliban, but will very likely impact only civilians.
Recommendations: UN representatives and the Taliban should focus their discussion on compromise, such as reducing the number of hours women can work rather than completely banning them. They should also clearly outline how women should dress so they can return to work. The UN should also negotiate for its ability, and on behalf of other NGOs’ abilities, to remain fully functional in the region. Other NGOs should reallocate the remaining staff and their responsibilities to maximize their capacity instead of completely suspending their operations. The international community should reconsider imposing additional sanctions as civilians will be the ones who face the consequences.
 Taliban ban Afghan women from working at NGOs - as UN says its work will be affected, Sky News, December 2022, https://news.sky.com/story/taliban-bans-afghan-women-from-working-at-ngos-12774178