The United Nations announced today in a statement that it is reviewing its “operational presence” in Afghanistan after the Taliban barred its women staff from working at the agency. The UN unequivocally condemns the decision, calling it “unacceptable” and “unlawful.”
Last week, the Taliban authorities informed the UN that women employees of the UN would no longer be able to continue their jobs at the UN in Afghanistan. Previously in December 2022, the Taliban had issued a country-wide edict that women could no longer work with non-profit and civil society organizations. The Taliban also forced women out of government civil services shortly after their return to power in August 2021.
While the latest move to further eliminate women from public life has been criticized globally, it is not the first time the Taliban has taken such extreme measures to deny women their right to work. The regime has deliberately discriminated against women and girls, pushing them away from most areas of public and daily life in Afghanistan, confining them only to their homes, and denying them access to needed services.
Since the group took control of the government, nearly 100 edicts have been issued, a majority of which target women and girls. Among them, women and girls have been barred from education and employment, and their movement has been restricted only when “necessary” and accompanied by close male relatives.
For Afghan women, though, condemnation is not enough. They demand a “strong commitment” from donors and ally countries against the constant attacks from the Taliban on women and girls.