Taliban Edict Threatens Humanitarian Aid to Millions
The Taliban's edict forbidding Afghan women from working for international and national humanitarian organizations may have a devastating impact for the millions of women and children living in poverty in Afghanistan. Before this latest edict, humanitarian aid organizations had obtained exemptions to the Taliban's ban on women from working. With one of the worst droughts the country has ever faced, Afghanistan is suffering from a severe food shortage, and the United Nations estimates that 25% of the 1.8 million residents of Kabul are dependent on aid for survival. The UN began negotiations with Taliban officials to reverse this restrictive edict over 3 weeks ago, with talks continuing over the weekend. Meanwhile, the UN warned all Afghan women working for international aid organizations in Taliban-controlled regions to stay home, in fear of brutal retaliation by the Taliban militia. The United States, argues the Boston Globe, should help end the Taliban's brutal treatment of women by putting pressure on Pakistan, one of the few countries that supports the Taliban, and concentrate on ending gender apartheid rather than targeting the Taliban's harboring of terrorist Osama bin Laden. The Feminist Majority Foundation has been working, through the Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan, to end gender apartheid in Afghanistan and to provide assistance to Afghan refugees and to the women and girls in Afghanistan living under virtual house arrest.
Media Resources: Boston Globe, Editorials - August 6, 2000 and Associated Press, World News - August 4, 2000 and August 3, 2000