In the latest restriction on women’s rights, Afghanistan’s Taliban-run government on Saturday ordered all domestic and international non-governmental organizations (NGO) to prevent female employees from reporting to work.
According to the letter, which was confirmed by Abdulrahman Habib, a spokesman for the economy ministry, some of the female employees were not following the administration’s understanding of the Islamic dress code for women, hence they were not permitted to work until further notice.
It comes days after the Taliban-run administration ordered universities to close to women, prompting strong global condemnation and sparking some protests and heavy criticism inside Afghanistan.
It was not immediately clear how the order would affect United Nations agencies, which have a large presence in Afghanistan delivering services amid the country’s humanitarian crisis.
When asked whether the rules included U.N. agencies, Habib said the letter applied to organizations under Afghanistan’s coordinating body for humanitarian organizations, known as ACBAR. That body does not include the United Nations but includes over 180 local and international NGOs.
However, the United Nations often contracts with NGOs registered in Afghanistan to carry out its humanitarian work.
Aidworkers say female workers are critical to ensuring women can access aid.