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Stopping our aid to Afghanistan would be a big mistake

The decree issued by the Taliban banning women from working in non-governmental organizations has hit the country hard and directly.

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Stopping our aid to Afghanistan would be a big mistake

The decree issued by the Taliban banning women from working in non-governmental organizations has hit the country hard and directly. The vast majority of aid organizations stopped their work immediately because a third of their employees are often women.

The federal government is now also checking whether it will stop aid to Afghanistan. Federal Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) declared that the decree was "an irresponsible blow to aid for the Afghan people". The minister therefore supports a possible suspension of payments. Since the Taliban took power in August 2021, Berlin has provided around 800 million euros for humanitarian aid.

Discontinuing this aid now would be a big mistake. Minister Schulze should only use this step as a threat to put further pressure on the Taliban. There is famine in Afghanistan, which has become even more dramatic with the takeover of the Taliban. Child mortality is one of the highest in the world. Two thirds of the estimated 37 million people in the country depend on international aid for their survival.

As a result of the decree, male family members will now take over the care of the families, which means that women become even more dependent and in need. Millions of women and children will be hit hard temporarily, especially now in winter when aid organizations stop working. But at least they and their children have a chance of survival if aid money continues to flow.

Of course, the international community needs to keep up concerted pressure for the decree to fall as soon as possible. A quarter of all households in Afghanistan depend on a single woman who can no longer turn to any organization because women are only allowed to communicate with women. This applies to the distribution of food as well as to health care.

Apparently the international protest is already having some success. According to United Nations meeting minutes, the Taliban are said to grant exceptions just a few days after the decree was announced. It said that women UN employees and foreign employees of non-governmental organizations are exempt from the work ban, as well as all women who work in the health sector.

A certain concession by the Taliban is not surprising. 80 percent of Kabul's national budget depends on international drips. Meanwhile, it is a futile wish for the supposed warriors of God to give women and girls back their rights in response to international protests. Since the West withdrew, the Taliban have been pushing half of the population further and further into dependency.

They are vulnerable to male violence, hunger and disease. Women are hardly allowed to work, go to university and, in most regions, are no longer allowed to attend secondary schools. Recently, the Taliban even banned women from entering public parks or sports facilities.

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