UN aid chief to visit Afghanistan over female aid worker ban


United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths will visit Afghanistan in the coming weeks and will seek to meet the highest possible officials within the Taliban-led administration after it banned female aid workers, a senior UN official said on Thursday.

“We regret to see that there is already an impact of this decision on our programs,” Ramiz Alakbarov, UN humanitarian aid coordinator in Afghanistan, told reporters in New York.

The United Nations said on Wednesday that some “time-critical” programs in Afghanistan had temporarily stopped and warned many other activities will also likely need to be paused because of the ban.

Alakbarov said that the humanitarian needs in Afghanistan were “enormous” and the United Nations was committed to staying and delivering help. He said the United Nations was actively working to get the ban reversed.

The ban on female aid workers was announced by the Islamist Taliban-led administration on Saturday.

It follows a ban imposed last week on women attending universities. Girls were stopped from attending high school in March.

The Taliban seized power in August last year. They largely banned education of girls when last in power two decades ago but had said their policies had changed.

The Taliban-led administration has not been recognised internationally. __Dawn.com