A UN spokesman said on Tuesday (April 4) that the Taliban have issued an order to ban Afghan women employees of the United Nations staff from working throughout Afghanistan. The reported move is significant as the UN had so far been exempt from such bans.
Stephane Dujarric, who is the spokesman for the secretary-general, said, “We were told from various conduits that this applies to the whole country.”
Meanwhile, news agencies reported that the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) had earlier said that the women UN staff in the country had been blocked from work in an eastern province.
As quoted by news agencies, Dujarric said that UNAMA received word of an order by the de facto authorities that ban female national staff members of the UN from working. He added that the UN had heard “from various conduits that this applies to the whole country”.
Dujarric said no written order had yet been received. While the UN was to hold meetings with the Taliban on Wednesday in Kabul to “seek some clarity”.
For UN chief Antonio Guterres, Dujarric said, “Any such ban would be unacceptable and frankly, inconceivable.”
“This is the latest in a disturbing trend undermining the ability of aid organizations to reach those most in need,” he added.
“Female staff members are essential for the United Nations to deliver lifesaving assistance,” he said. The spokesperson also said that the UN is working to reach 23 million people with humanitarian aid in the country.
(With inputs from agencies)
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