This week, the Taliban announced a further expansion of its draconian policies against women: it has now said it will block Afghan women from working for United Nations agencies providing vital humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan. This follows its December ban on Afghan women working for non-governmental organizations. I am deeply alarmed and strongly condemn this continued assault on women’s human rights, which will only have the effect of reducing services and support for all Afghans. Alongside the international community, the United States calls on the Taliban to reverse this reprehensible decision immediately.
This ban will increase suffering for people across Afghanistan. Women are critical to the development of Afghanistan and the delivery of desperately needed aid, and the Taliban’s actions are already inhibiting humanitarian actors’ ability to deliver vital assistance to millions – even forcing some organizations to pause or suspend operations. This decision by the Taliban will further hamper the delivery of life-saving assistance.
The United States will continue coordinating closely with our allies and partners, including at the United Nations, to deliver aid to the people of Afghanistan. We will do everything we can to prevent the humanitarian situation from deteriorating even further amid the Taliban’s despicable announcement.
The United States has provided more than $1.1 billion in humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people amid the country’s ongoing crisis, as well as nearly $800 million in development assistance to support critical needs in health, education, and livelihoods since August 2021. We will continue to stand with the people of Afghanistan, especially Afghan women, supporting them with critical aid, and lifting up the work of courageous Afghan advocates for equality and human rights.