A week after banning women from working at the United Nations, the Taliban said on Wednesday that there was no obstacle to UN work in Afghanistan. The global body had actively objected to the ban. Meanwhile, the ban is being actively enforced by the country’s intelligence agency, which reports to the Taliban leadership in Kandahar.
The UN says it cannot accept the decision, calling it illegal and an unprecedented violation of women’s rights. It says women are vital to delivering life-saving aid to millions of Afghans, and it has instructed its national staff, male and female, to stay at home. Zabihullah Mujahid, the main spokesman for the Taliban-led government and part of the supreme leader’s inner circle, denied that the authorities were to blame for Afghanistan’s many woes.
The decision to bar Afghan women from working at the UN was an internal matter and should be respected by all parties, Mujahid said, as he sought the Taliban’s position and the international community. “This decision does not mean that there is discrimination, or that the activities of the United Nations are blocked. On the contrary, we are committed to the rights of all our countrymen, taking into account their religious and cultural interests. “
“Given the emergency situation in Afghanistan, it is essential for UN member states to resolve the issue of Afghan assets, banking, travel restrictions and other sanctions as soon as possible so that Afghanistan can make progress in economic, political and security . regions. Afghans have the ability to stand on their own feet.
Aid agencies are providing food, education and health care assistance to Afghans in the wake of the Taliban takeover and subsequent economic fallout. But distribution has been severely hit by a Taliban order banning women from working in non-governmental organizations – and now, even the United Nations. Rosa Otunbayeva, the head of its mission in the country, has launched “an operational review period” lasting until May 5 in response to the ban, according to a UN statement.
During this time, the UN will “conduct necessary consultations, make necessary operational adjustments, and accelerate contingency planning for all possible outcomes,” an indirect suggestion that it may be prepared to suspend its mission and operations in the embroiled country. can proceed for. The United Nations has warned that its Afghan campaign is also at risk due to a severe funding crunch, putting millions of lives at risk.
“Already, the food basket has had to be halved due to insufficient resources. If funding is not secured immediately, millions of Afghans will be staring at the barrel of famine, disease and death,” the Office of Humanitarian Affairs said in a tweet on Wednesday. No country has recognized the Taliban as Afghanistan’s legitimate government and the country’s seat at the United Nations is held by the former government of President Ashraf Ghani.