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UN official meets Taliban deputy premier over women NGO ban


Kabul: A senior U.N. official in Afghanistan met on Sunday Afghan deputy prime minister to discuss a ban on women working for non-governmental groups that Afghan authorities have announced in a series of measures rolling back women’s rights.

The interim Afghan administration decision to bar women from NGO work has prompted major international aid agencies to suspend operations in the country. The ban has raised fears that people will be deprived basic humanitarian aids as over half of Afghanistan’s population needs urgent assistance.

Aid agencies have warned the ban will have catastrophic consequences and “hundreds and thousands” of Afghans will be affected because of this decision.

The deputy head of the U.N. Mission in Afghanistan, Potzel Markus, met Maulvi Abdul Salam Hanafi in the capital Kabul to discuss the ban, as well as other measures including barring women from universities.

“Banning women from working in non-governmental organizations, denying girls and women from education and training, harms millions of people in Afghanistan and prevents the delivery of vital aid to Afghan men, women, and children,” the U.N. mission said.

Potzel is the latest U.N. official to meet the Afghan rulers amid mounting international concern over the curtailing of women’s freedoms in Afghanistan.

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