Taliban ban women from working for domestic, foreign NGOs

Taliban ban women from working for domestic, foreign NGOs

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The Taliban government in Afghanistan on Saturday ordered all foreign and domestic non-governmental groups to stop employing women.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The Taliban government in Afghanistan on Saturday ordered all foreign and domestic non-governmental groups to stop employing women.

The order came in a letter from Economy Minister Qari Din Mohammed Hanif, which said any NGO not complying with the order would have its license to operate in Afghanistan revoked.

The contents of the letter were confirmed to The Associated Press on Saturday by ministry spokesman Abdul Rahman Habib.

The ministry said it had received “serious complaints” about female staff working for NGOs not wearing the “proper” headscarf or hijab. It was not immediately clear whether the order applies to all women or only to Afghan women in the NGOs.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Taliban security forces used a water cannon to disperse women protesting Saturday’s ban on women’s university education, eyewitnesses said, as the Taliban-led government’s decision continued to spark outrage and resistance in Afghanistan and beyond evokes .

The development came after Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers on Tuesday banned female students from attending universities with immediate effect. Since then, Afghan women have been demonstrating in major cities against the ban, a rare sign of internal protests since the Taliban seized power last year.

According to eyewitnesses in the western city of Herat, about two dozen women went to the provincial governor’s house to protest the ban on Saturday, shouting “education is our right” as they were pushed back by security forces firing water cannons.

Video shared with The Associated Press shows the women screaming and hiding in a side street to escape the water cannons. Then they continue their protest, with chants of “Shameful!”

One of the protest organizers, Maryam, said between 100 and 150 women took part in the protest, moving in small groups from different parts of the city to a central meeting point. She did not give her last name for fear of reprisals.

“There was security on every street, every square, armored vehicles and gunmen,” she said. “When we started our protest in Tariqi Park, the Taliban took branches from the trees and beat us. But we continued our protest. They increased their security presence. At around 11 a.m. they brought out the water cannon.”

A spokesman for the provincial governor, Hamidullah Mutawakil, claimed there were only four to five protesters. “They didn’t have an agenda, they just came here to make a film,” he said, without mentioning the violence against women or the use of water cannons.

The university ban has been widely condemned internationally, including by Muslim-majority countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, as well as warnings from the United States and the G-7 group of major industrialized nations that the policy will have consequences for the Taliban have.

A Taliban government official, Minister of Higher Education Nida Mohammad Nadim, first spoke about the ban in an interview with Afghan state television on Thursday. He said the ban was necessary to prevent gender-mixing at universities and because he believes some subjects being taught go against the principles of Islam.

He said the ban will apply until further notice.

Although the Taliban initially promised a more moderate regime respecting the rights of women and minorities, they have largely implemented their interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia, since seizing power in August 2021.

They have banned girls from middle and high schools, barred women from most careers, and ordered them to wear head-to-toe clothing in public. Women are also banned from parks and gyms. At the same time, Afghan society, while largely traditional, has increasingly embraced girls’ and women’s education over the past two decades.

Also on Saturday, dozens of Afghan refugee students protested in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta against the ban on higher education for women in their home country and called for the immediate reopening of higher education for women.

One of them, Bibi Haseena, read a poem depicting the dire situation of Afghan girls seeking education. She said she was unhappy at having graduated outside her country while hundreds of thousands of her Afghan sisters were denied an education.

Riazat Butt, The Associated Press

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