(CNN) The United Nations said it was forced to make a “horrific choice” after it instructed all its personnel in Afghanistan to stay away from its offices in the country, after Taliban Afghan female aid worker banned.
“National UN staff – women and men – have been instructed not to submit reports to UN offices, except for limited exceptions and calibrations for critical missions,” the organization said in a statement.
It follows Afghan men working for the United Nations in Kabul I stayed home last week In solidarity with their colleagues.
The United Nations said the Taliban’s move was an extension of an earlier ban, implemented last December, that banned Afghan women from working for national and international NGOs.
The organization said in a statement on Tuesday that the decree forced the United Nations “to make a horrific choice between staying, providing support for the Afghan people, and adhering to the standards and principles that we have a duty to abide by.”
She added that the ban is “the latest in a series of discriminatory measures implemented by the de facto Taliban aimed at severely restricting the participation of women and girls in most areas of public and daily life in Afghanistan.”
The statement said the UN will continue to “assess the scope, criteria and consequences of the ban, and cease activities when this is impeded,” adding that “the matter will be subject to constant review.”
Many female UN staff in the country have already experienced restrictions on their movements since the Taliban seized power in 2021, including harassment and detention.
Ramiz Alekperov, the UN deputy special representative, resident coordinator and humanitarian coordinator for Afghanistan, called the Taliban’s decision an “unparalleled violation of human rights” last week.
“Afghan women’s lives are in danger,” he said, adding that “you can’t reach women without women.”
The United Nations said last week that the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Rosa Otunbayeva, is reaching out to the Taliban at the highest levels to “seek an immediate regime reversal.”
“In the history of the United Nations, no other regime has ever attempted to prevent women from working in the organization simply because they are women. This decision represents an assault on women, the fundamental principles of the United Nations, and international law,” Otunbayeva said.
Other figures within the organization also condemned the move, with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights describing it as “absolutely despicable”.
After the Taliban banned the aid worker in December, at least half a dozen major foreign aid groups temporarily suspended operations in Afghanistan — reducing what scarce resources are already available to a country in dire need.
The Taliban’s return to power was preceded by a deepening humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, exacerbating issues that have long plagued the country. After the takeover, the United States and its allies froze about $7 billion in the country’s foreign reserves and cut international financing – crippling an economy that relied heavily on foreign aid.
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