Top UN officials discuss the Taliban’s prohibition on female relief workers in Afghanistan.

The world’s largest assistance organization now runs the risk of neglecting those who most need it in a nation where women are prohibited from attending secondary and university level education as well as many workplaces.

And the cruelest part of winter, when famine and frostbite are at the door, is when it’s happening.

The highest-ranking UN delegation to visit Afghanistan since the Taliban took over in 2021 has arrived in Kabul as the turmoil there worsens.

Amina Mohammad, the UN’s top female official, was sent by the secretary general of the organization together with a delegation that included included Sima Bahous, the head of UN Women.

In order to reverse limitations, including a new prohibition on female aid workers, which is now seen to jeopardize crucial life-saving humanitarian operations, they have been given the duty of communicating to senior Taliban leaders at the highest level possible.

Ramiz Alakbarov, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan, emphasizes the all-too-obvious in a statement by saying “People are freezing and time is running out.”

We urgently need to construct shelters, but in this patriarchal environment, we are unable to carry out this task without female relief workers who can communicate with the women in the households.

Not only did the UN send a senior delegation, but they also sent one that was led by a woman with extensive leadership experience.

One aid official who frequently sits in the room during discussions to balance the demands of the Taliban leadership with international standards on human rights said, “If there are women in the room, there is a better possibility that the painful debates about women will take place.”

Foreign delegations sending men-only teams are frequently criticized for reinforcing the strict Taliban worldview.

The UN Security Council, the highest body in the world, has denounced the “growing erosion for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms” with uncommon unanimity.

Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi was the first representative of the Taliban to meet with the foreign delegation in Kabul.

His spokesman stated on social media that the minister hoped the delegation would “provide Afghanistan’s honest picture to the world” at the beginning of the summit.

He also reaffirmed the Taliban’s claim that sanctions and a lack of international recognition of their rule were impeding their capacity to rule efficiently.

A year of Taliban rule from Kabul and beyond
Afghans are sedated starving kids and sell organs.
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Temperatures in Afghanistan are falling to as low as -17C, and they are significantly lower in mountainous regions.

Millions of households are battling to survive the night because electricity is intermittent or nonexistent. Hardscrabble existence in one of the poorest nations in the world has always been tough, but not to this extent.

The frantic cry of aid organizations scrambling to comply with the latest Taliban government order barring Afghan female aid workers is, “We cannot deliver humanitarian help in Afghanistan without the involvement of half the society.”

Some humanitarian organizations have temporarily ceased activities. The decision is the most recent in a slew of decisions made in recent months that also forbade women from enrolling in higher education, socializing in parks, or even visiting gyms that are exclusively for women.

Taliban officials claim that conditions must first be prepared in accordance with their view of Islamic Sharia law and Afghanistan’s traditional conservative values.

On this most recent ban, some progress has been made.

Some Taliban officials are aware of the seriousness of these new regulations.

The Health Ministry has finally made it clear that women can work in the healthcare industry, where the need for female doctors and nurses is critical. That led to the restart of certain crucial health programs.

While the majority of our programs are still on hold, Save the Children said in a statement this week, “we are restarting some activities, like health, nutrition, and some education services, where we have received clear, reliable assurances from relevant authorities that our female staff will be safe and can work without obstruction.”

The International Rescue Committee’s Samira Sayed Rahman emphasized the necessity of Afghan women working everywhere, from desks in offices to door-to-door surveys in the field.

Working with Taliban officials “sector by sector,” she told the BBC, “We are taking a practical approach.

These issues extend beyond those of the outside world. Tribal chiefs and religious authorities have been pleading with Taliban commanders to establish secondary schools for girls and create more employment prospects in every region.

When we traveled to the remote central highlands of Ghor last summer, we heard from farmers and their families about how the UN World Food Programme’s prompt efforts previous winter saved certain areas from going hungry.

One farmer bemoaned, “We feel like the world has forgotten about us,” waving dried shafts of wheat as a stinging reminder of the many years of harsh drought that have made life more harder.

In order to emphasize what the UN has called “the need of the international community speaking with one voice with a cohesive approach,” this high-level UN delegation began their mission by first traveling to Afghanistan’s neighbors as well as the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Many Afghans and their allies feel that most of the world seems to have forgotten a country where they once committed so much time and money, thus this UN visit is significant at this time.

Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said, “Where are the Nato countries that rushed through the door in 2021?”

He dispensed with any politeness over the US-led withdrawal that contributed to the Taliban takeover in a message that he sent last week on Twitter while on his own trip to Afghanistan. “You left us with 40 million Afghans.”

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