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- The Taliban in Afghanistan recently banned women from universities, and working with NGOs.
- In response, the UN has said it cannot continue to supply the Taliban with humanitarian aid.
- But the Taliban still asked for support, arguing humanitarian aid shouldn’t be “linked” to politics.
The Taliban asked to keep receiving aid from the United Nations despite ending education for women and banning female aid workers in a move that prompted global condemnation.
During a meeting on Friday, the UN Security Council urged the Taliban to drop “oppressive” restrictions against women and girls.
It said the UN would no longer be able to support the country until it does so, the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.
In response, a spokesman for the Taliban government tweeted on Saturday that the UN “should understand the religious demands of our nation and not link humanitarian issues/aid to politics.”
“Regarding the meeting of the UN Security Council, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan understands their concerns, but the Islamic Emirate tries to regulate all matters in the light of Islamic Sharia,” the spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, tweeted.
—Zabihullah (..ذبـــــیح الله م ) (@Zabehulah_M33) January 14, 2023
Other Islamic countries, even those that heavily restrict the role of women, do not bar them from university education. Countries including Iran and Saudi Arabia have called on Afghanistan to change its policy.
The Taliban has been squeezing women out of public life since it seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 following the withdrawal of US forces.
In November last year, it banned women from using parks and gyms, and a month later it said women would not be allowed to attend the country’s public and private universities.
Then, less than a week later, it banned women from working for non-governmental organizations.
The employment ban prompted as many as 150 NGOs and aid agencies working in the country to suspend their operations, arguing that they cannot do their work without women, The Guardian reported.
Last month, Martin Griffiths, the head of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the developments in Afghanistan could lead to billions in aid being cut off in the long term.
UN flights carrying stacks of cash for humanitarian aid into Kabul had already been suspended, he said. (The aid is supplied in cash due to US sanctions.)
The UN has flown in around $1.8 billion for itself and its partners to carry out their work in Afghanistan since December 2021, Axios reported.