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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-24-98

Taliban Denies Aid Gap in Afghanistan

After most of the aid agencies in Kabul pulled out, the Taliban announced that people should not worry because the UN would fill the void. The UN, however, says that the agency simply does not have the resources to fulfill the need created by the aid pullout. UN aid is actually being reduced to show support for the aid agencies that pulled out.

The UN has remained in Kabul because they were excluded from the Taliban's order that aid agencies either leave Afghanistan or move into a broken down slum that lacked utilities and water. In May, the UN had negotiated with the Taliban to avoid this fate. The agreement at the end of these negotiations stated that female access to health care and education "will need to be gradual." The other aid groups besides the UN say they did not accept that and regularly butted heads with the Taliban over the militia's treatment of women. The groups that pulled out wanted women to have the same access to aid resources as men did . Many of the groups felt that the order to move to the slum was a masked expulsion to avoid the continued conflict over the Taliban's treatment of women.

Although the Taliban denies that the pullout will harm the people of Kabul, many drinking water pumps have since stopped and city residents will soon start to use wells located to close too latrines, which is likely to result in a major outbreak of disease. Already, just a few days after the pullout, disease is on the rise without aid groups to provide medicine and medical staff. The Taliban's money and resources are directed towards gaining more territory from opposing forces.

Media Resources: Agence France Presse - July 22, 1998


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