For information only - not an official document.
Press Release No: UNIS/SG/2626
Release Date: 7 August 2000
Secretary-General Deeply Concerned over Humanitarian Impact of 
Taliban Edict Prohibiting Afghan Women from Working with Foreign Agencies

NEW YORK, 4 August (UN Headquarters) -- The following text was issued today by the Office of the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan: 

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned over the humanitarian impact of the edict recently issued by Taliban authorities that would prohibit Afghan women from working with foreign agencies and non-governmental organizations, with the exception of the health sector.  As a result, the United Nations has no choice but to caution all Afghan women directly employed by the Organization and its programmes to stay home until further notice, for their own protection.

The Secretary-General notes that these restrictions on women’s employment come at a time when Afghanistan is facing a severe drought and an unprecedented food deficit, and are expected to impact negatively on the aid community’s ability to provide urgently required humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable, particularly women and children.  In Kabul alone, an estimated one quarter of the population of 1.8 million are dependent on aid survival.

The Secretary-General underscores the critical need to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan population, and urges the Taliban to reconsider their position in order to avert further unnecessary human suffering.

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