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Aid agency resumes work with female staff after Taliban nod

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KABUL: Norwegian Refugee Council aid agency has resumed operations in southern Kandahar after the Taliban allowed its Afghan female staff to return to work.

This is as Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Secretary General Jan Egeland said last month that key Taliban leaders in Kandahar had signaled a willingness to agree to an interim arrangement for NRC female aid workers.

“I am glad to confirm that we have been able to resume most of our humanitarian operations in Kandahar as well as a number of other regions in Afghanistan,” Egeland, who was the U.N. aid chief posted on Twitter on Monday.

“All our work is for women & men, girls & boys alike, & with equal participation of our female & male humanitarian colleagues,” Egeland wrote.

The U.N. and aid groups have been trying to carve out exemptions for women to deliver aid, particularly in health and education. The Taliban administration has been promising since January a set of written guidelines to allow aid groups to operate with female staff.

Egeland said last month that when he complained that the guidelines were taking too long, Taliban officials in Kandahar suggested an interim arrangement could be agreed to allow Afghan women to return to work in the office and field.

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