United Nations (UN) officials fear that the Taliban’s ban on women working with international aid organizations may bring an end to aid programs in the region. Stephanie Bunker, spokesperson for the UN office for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, stated that, while the UN “respects the principles and culture” of Afghanitan, they view the ban on working women as a “stumbling block” that seriously impares the ability of the UN to provide assistance. The UN and the World Food Programme have urged the Taliban to lift their ban on women working for aid organizations, and suggest that women supervise programs intended to benefit women, to monitor the aid and assure that services are reaching the population.
The Taliban’s bans on education, work and mobility for women have no basis in Afghan culture. Before the Taliban took power, women were 50 percent of the students and 60 percent of the teachers at Kabul University, and 70 percent of school teachers, 50 percent of civilian government workers, and 40 percent of doctors in Kabul were women.