By prohibiting women from contributing to the efforts of humanitarian organizations, the Taliban effectively suspended aid to half the Afghan population, aid on which they depended and without which they would not survive. 11.6 million women and girls no longer receive life-saving assistance. Female-headed households, who make up nearly a quarter of households in Afghanistan, have nowhere to turn and no means of livelihood. Many national and international NGOs cannot function without their female staff. All services for women are affected, including their access to water, sanitation, hygiene, protection, mobile health, food, shelter and livelihoods.
The consequences of this further increase the vulnerability of women and girls already at risk, as services for survivors of violence or to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse are closed. Thousands of children and families who depended on the income brought in by women providing humanitarian aid are now even more destitute.
There can be no greater catastrophe in the face of the humanitarian crisis than to withdraw the contribution of half the population to meet the daunting challenges of Afghanistan.
UN Women stands in full solidarity with the women and girls of Afghanistan. I reiterate our total condemnation of the continued erasure and oppression of Afghan women and girls from public life and our outrage at this latest act of cruelty.
The de facto authorities must know that their actions are undertaken under the full light and control of the international community and always will be. UN Women stayed and delivered in Afghanistan, and we will stay. With our partners, we will do everything we can to ensure that women and girls regain their place by contributing to the future of Afghanistan, and that their rights are restored, protected and respected.