A major humanitarian group warned Monday that a continued Taliban ban on women aid workers in Afghanistan could push 6 million people into famine and leave 600,000 children without education.
Norwegian Refugee Council Secretary General Jan Egeland issued the warning after talks with Taliban officials in Kabul.
He tweeted that a continued ban of female workers at nongovernmental organizations could also leave 13.5 million people without a safe water supply and 14.1 million people without protection services.
“We are not giving aid to the hundreds of thousands of people we serve here in Afghanistan,” Egeland said in a video he recorded Sunday in Kabul. “And it’s raining, it’s snowing, it’s miserable. And not to give them aid is so painful for us. But only if we are able to resume work with females according to all of the Afghan traditional values will we start work again, and I hope we will find a solution very soon.”
Last month, the hardline rulers abruptly forbade Afghan female staff from working for national and international nongovernmental organizations, saying they were not wearing the Islamic headscarf in line with official orders.
U.N. officials say the move has effectively suspended scores of humanitarian programs in a country where millions of people need urgent aid.