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Three foreign NGOs partially resume aid in Afghanistan


Kabul: At least three leading international aid agencies have partially resumed life-saving work in Afghanistan, after assurances from the authorities that Afghan women can continue to work in the health sector.

CARE, Save the Children, and International Rescue Committee (IRC) suspended their operations in late December in protest at a government order banning Afghan women from aid work.

“We have received clear, reliable assurances from relevant authorities that our female staff will be safe and can work without obstruction,” Save the Children said in a statement, confirming they have resumed work in the health sector in the past few days.

The IRC and CARE also confirmed they have resumed work with women staff in the health sector.

The international community has been urging the government in a series of high-level meetings to reverse the order banning women in the aid sector, which was expected to have heavy consequences on aid flows coming into the country.

Abdul Rahman Habib, spokesman for the ministry of economy that ordered the ban, told AFP that it was “a need for our society” that women were allowed to work in the health sector.

“We need them to support the malnourished children and other women who need health services. They (women staff) are working in line with our religious and cultural values.”

The ban was one of two crushing orders made in rapid succession last month, after authorities had first barred women from university education.

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