UN delegation meets with Haqqani over ban on female aid workers

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The United Nations said its envoy to Afghanistan had pressed the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) rulers Monday to reverse bans on work and education for women and girls to prevent further isolation of the crisis-ridden country.

Markus Potzel, the acting head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), conveyed the international community’s call in a meeting in Kabul with IEA’s Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani.

“The ban on Afghan women aid workers will deepen the humanitarian crisis creating greater economic misery and further Afghanistan’s isolation,” UNAMA tweeted after the meeting.

Haqqani’s office confirmed in a post-meeting statement that Potzel shared his concerns about the education of girls and the imposition of other restrictions.

“Efforts are being made to solve the problems,” and that “a reasonable and permanent solution is being worked on which is compatible with Sharia rules and the culture of our people,” Haqqani was quoted as telling the UN delegation.

The restriction on women aid workers has prompted the U.N. to temporarily halt some “time-critical” programs, and several of the largest foreign NGOs have suspended their operations, saying they cannot reach the millions of children, women and men in need of assistance without female staff.—Ariana news