UN asks Taliban for more exemptions for NGO workers

by Charlotte Greenfield

KABUL (Reuters) – The UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs said on Wednesday the humanitarian community was talking to the Taliban to try to secure new waivers and written guidelines allowing female staff of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to ) to work despite the prohibition.

Martin Griffiths told Reuters that in discussions with authorities in Kabul over the past few days, his message had been: “If you can’t help us overturn the ban, give us the exemptions to allow women to work”.

Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban ordered NGOs, many of which operate on behalf of the United Nations, to ban most of their female staff from coming to work last month.

Some exemptions have been granted to women working in the health and education sectors, said Martin Griffiths, and another in the field of agriculture would seem possible. He added, however, that much more needed to be done, with nutrition and water and sanitation services being priorities to prevent serious diseases and malnutrition during the severe humanitarian crisis in the country.

These discussions with the Afghan authorities gave the United Nations and humanitarian agencies hope to create a set of written guidelines allowing NGOs to operate with female staff in more areas in the coming weeks, he said. -He specifies.

“The next few weeks are absolutely crucial to see if the humanitarian community… can stay and deliver on its promises,” said Martin Griffiths.

(Report Charlotte Greenfield; French version Dagmarah Mackos, edited by Kate Entringer)

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