What The Taliban’s Latest Decrees Mean For 3 NGOs In Afghanistan

Since retaking control of Afghanistan, the Taliban has imposed restrictive laws for women, girls, and other groups. Nonprofit leaders are being forced to make tough decisions to adapt.


The latest bans on women working for NGOs and attending university are having a detrimental impact on communities and creating massive uncertainty in Afghanistan. The orders are affecting livelihoods and forcing families to make life-threatening choices amid an already difficult winter and an economic collapse.

Here’s how three nonprofits are responding to the most recent crackdowns on the freedoms of women and girls in Afghanistan, more than one year after the Taliban’s takeover.

    1. Afghanistan-Pakistan Women’s Economic Empowerment

    They provide economic opportunities and relief to women in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. But as women’s freedoms are suppressed, the work to serve them becomes more difficult.

    Their response to the Taliban prohibiting women NGO workers:

    “Despite the recent setbacks, we continue to carry out our mission—to support and empower disadvantaged women.”

    The restrictions on female aid workers will worsen the humanitarian crisis and weaken the already fragile economy in Afghanistan, where nearly 97% of the population is at risk of poverty, and half of Afghans are dependent on aid.

    So Afghanistan-Pakistan Women’s Economic Empowerment is supporting women in securing their own livelihoods through a tailoring and sewing workshop for Afghan widows in Kabul. With a sewing machine, fabrics, and threads, the women can become entrepreneurs and run their businesses from their homes.

    But the bans have forced the organization to pause other programs, including one focused on STEM scholarship, which helps low-income, female students majoring in STEM-related fields.

    That puts futures at risk.

    Support people impacted by the Taliban’s ban on women NGO workers and girls seeking an education by donating to the Afghanistan Emergency Fund.

    2. Aid Afghanistan for Education

    Their mission is to empower young, marginalized Afghans through education. The restrictions on girls’ and women’s access to education, combined with the latest ban on female aid workers, are an infringement on their human rights. And they only add to the stress and uncertainty for families and their children.

    Their response to the Taliban banning women from universities:

    “As the Taliban announced banning girls from attending university, I have been reflecting on those 2,700 girls and women who graduated, with an official high school certificate, from AAE schools in nine provinces in the past fifteen years,” Founder and Director Hassina Sherjan, wrote in a recent project report.

    “Together, we will find ways to support our students and all those who are eager to learn and to expand their horizon for a fulfilled life. Women and men are born with their right, to all of what life has to offer, and no one should deprive them of that right.”

    Despite growing needs, many organizations that serve communities in Afghanistan can’t work toward their missions given the Taliban’s latest restrictions. The International Rescue Committee (IRC), is one nonprofit partner that has suspended operations in the country.

    3. The IRC

    They respond to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, supporting restorative work for the people devastated by conflict and disaster.

    Their response to the Taliban prohibiting women NGO workers:

    The Taliban’s latest decree banning Afghan women from working in national and international NGOs, following earlier decrees limiting women’s access to education will have lifelong impacts on Afghanistan and its future, the organization said in a statement.

    “The exclusion of women from humanitarian service delivery will have catastrophic consequences for the Afghan people because our services depend on women workers.”

    While they are unable to continue their work in Afghanistan after decades of service there, the IRC is still supporting Afghan refugee resettlement and engaging with the international community, Afghan authorities, and others to resolve the situation and restore the full rights of women to work for NGOs.

Despite the restrictions, nonprofits working in Afghanistan haven’t given up. They’re striving to serve their communities, but with so many sources of funding depleted and the country’s economic and political instability, they need support.

You can support women and girls in Afghanistan with flexible funding that allows nonprofits to adapt to the changing environment and offer assistance in uncertain times by donating to the Afghanistan Emergency Fund.

Stand with women and girls in Afghanistan.


Featured Photo: Halimah, 13-year-old schoolgirl, poses for a photo in an empty classroom in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022 by AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

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