Jamila and her four children had clung to the edge of survival for years before the Taliban took power and the economy crashed. She and her children moved to a camp for displaced people in northwestern Afghanistan and relied on aid organizations to survive after her husband died while attempting to cross the Iranian border five years ago.
Oil, flour, and rice that her family didn’t starve to death were brought to her by one group. Another gave her children notebooks and pens, the only primary school supplies they had.
However, the aid worker abruptly ended the call when Jamila attempted to arrange an emergency food parcel for her family at the end of December, stating that the organization had ceased operations: Women were banned from working for most local and international aid organizations last month by the Afghan government, causing many to cease operations. It broke Jamila’s heart.
Women all over the country are grappling with the disappearance of lifesaving aid that their families and the nation have relied on since the country entered a humanitarian crisis just weeks ago.
It has been a double tragedy for Afghanistan and especially for Afghan women.
The new edict eliminated one of the few remaining outlets for employment and public life for many women and girls who had already faced increasing restrictions under the new government.
These organizations said that the move was a “red line” that went against humanitarian principles and could stop their operations in Afghanistan for good if it stays in place.
Millions of Afghans will likely be left without essential aid during the harsh winter months as a result.
According to estimates from the United Nations, a record two-thirds of the population, or 28.3 million Afghans, will require some kind of humanitarian assistance in the coming year as the country faces a hunger crisis.
“There is no choice here. This is not a matter of politics. It’s actually true. In a news conference at the end of last month, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s regional director Adam Combs stated, “We cannot do our job if we do not have a female staff in place to work.”
According to the documents, Afghan officials accused Western countries, particularly the United States, of using aid as political leverage to force unwelcome Western values on the country during a meeting in Kandahar, the heartland of the Taliban movement and center of power of the new government, at the end of December.
A Taliban administration spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, made the following statement on Twitter late last month: “All organizations within Afghanistan must comply with the country’s laws.” Under the guise of humanitarian assistance, no one is permitted to slander or threaten our leaders’ decisions.
Despite this, the majority of U.N. aid agencies collaborate with nongovernmental organizations to carry out their activities. Many of these nongovernmental organizations, which previously relied on female aid workers to reach women and their families in need, have since suspended their programs.
Women must also make up at least half of the people an aid organization reaches in order to receive funding from many international donors.
The ban and the suspension of aid have had devastating effects on women all over the country.
Abeda Mosavi, a Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) employee who works with Afghan widows in Kunduz, an economic hub in northern Afghanistan, described the situation as “a disaster.” I have no idea how well the Taliban comprehended the significance of women’s roles in aid organizations or the challenges that women will face following this.
She has barely been able to sleep as a result.Ms. Mosavi persuaded the woman not to go through with it and referred her to a food assistance program after she convinced her that it was the only way she could feed and keep her other children alive.
Ms. Mosavi expressed her worry, “I don’t know what will happen to her now.” This is one of hundreds of similar cases.
If the ban remains in place, other women aid workers, many of whom are the sole providers for their families, have expressed concern about how to provide for their families.
What should my family and I eat if we can’t work for non-governmental organizations? Najima Rahmani, 42, said. Ms. Rahmani, a widow from the northern province of Balkh, was without a job for six months before she got a job in November with Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, an implementing partner of the United Nations World Food Program.
She described those six months of unemployment as like a living nightmare.
In their home, her family could not afford electricity. In an effort to pay for her two sons’ and daughter’s tuition, she had to borrow money from relatives who were also struggling.
Her and her daughter suffered tremendously as a result of the government’s decision last month to prohibit women from attending universities. After that, the NGO work ban went into effect, and it felt like not only a new blow, but also like a prison sentence that forced them all back into a life of begging and hardship.
Ms. Rahmani broke down in tears and said, “I am in a lot of pain.” My wound never gets old. A woman in my situation never heals her wound because it is always fresh.
Today, women aren’t allowed in gyms or public parks, nor are they allowed to travel a long distance without a male relative.
They are unable to attend college or high school. The morality police reprimand women in public who are not covered from head to toe in all-concealing burqas and headpieces at checkpoints along streets and during spot inspections on farms.
It has been a devastating loss for those who had hoped for much more than just an end to the war and a realization of some women’s worst fears regarding Taliban rule.
Habiba Akbari, a British humanitarian and development worker who works for Afghan Aid, has spent the majority of the past four years traveling between her hometown in Badakhshan Province and her university in Kunduz City while avoiding occasional battles between the Taliban and the Western-backed government.
Ms. Akbari got her degree last year, right before the Taliban administration made it illegal for women to go to college, and she got a job with the aid group.
Ms. Akbari stated, “The Taliban are burying us alive.”
Public by world news spot live