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EU, US condemn IEA’s decision barring females from working in NGOs



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The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) has ordered all national and international NGOs to stop their female employees from working, citing “serious complaints” about their dress code.

The order, issued by the Ministry of Economy, threatened to suspend the operating licences of NGOs that failed to implement the directive.

“There have been serious complaints regarding the non-observance of the Islamic hijab and other rules and regulations pertaining to the work of females in national and international organisations,” said a statement sent to all NGOs.

“The ministry of economy… instructs all organisations to stop females from working until further notice,” the statement said.

“In case of ignoring the directive, the license of the organisation which has been issued by this ministry, will be cancelled,” it added.

The latest restriction comes less than a week after the IEA authorities suspended university education for women, prompting global outrage and protests.

The EU strongly condemned the IEA’s ban on women working for NGOs in Afghanistan and said it was assessing the impact on its aid to the country.

“We are assessing the situation and the impact it will have on our aid on the ground,” an EU spokesperson told AFP in a statement.

The EU is a major supporter of aid organisations that work in Afghanistan. However it does not recognize IEA as the country’s official government.

EU foreign policy chief’s spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said: “Our foremost concern will continue to be the welfare, rights, and freedoms of the people of Afghanistan.”

She said the ban on women working for NGOs “is another harsh restriction on the ability of women in Afghanistan to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms and a clear breach of humanitarian principles”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also warned that an IEA order for women to be barred from working for NGOs would disrupt aid delivery and could be “devastating” for Afghanistan.

“Deeply concerned that the Taliban’s (IEA) ban on women delivering humanitarian aid in Afghanistan will disrupt vital and life-saving assistance to millions,” Blinken tweeted.

“This decision could be devastating for the Afghan people.”

Dozens of national and international NGOs continue to work in several sectors across remote areas of Afghanistan, and many of their employees are women.

It was not immediately clear whether the order applied to United Nations agencies, which have a large presence in Afghanistan and often deal with NGOs registered there to carry out their humanitarian work.

Economy Ministry’s spokesperson, Abdulrahman Habib, said the letter, banning women’s work, applied to organisations under Afghanistan’s coordinating body for humanitarian organisations, known as ACBAR. That body does not include the UN, but includes over 180 local and international NGOs.

Top officials from the United Nations and dozens of NGOs operating in Afghanistan are meeting in Kabul Sunday to discuss the way ahead after the IEA authorities ordered all NGOs to stop women employees from working, aid officials said.

“A meeting of Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) is scheduled later today to consult and discuss how to tackle this issue,” Tapiwa Gomo, public information officer for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told AFP.

The HCT comprises top UN officials and representatives of dozens of Afghan and international NGOs who coordinate distribution of aid across the country.

The meeting will discuss whether to suspend all aid work following the latest IEA directive, some NGO officials said.

The United Nations, which said it would seek an explanation from the IEA about the order, condemned the ministry’s directive.

The ban comes at a time when millions across the country depend on humanitarian aid provided by international donors through a vast network of NGOs.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund, at an event in Kabul under the title of “Waiver of Tax Penalties, Supporting Industry and Trade”, said that IEA considers itself responsible towards the people of the country.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is responsible towards the people including businessmen and industrialists, so it is necessary to provide them with facilities in every area and protect their property and dignity,” Baradar said.

Speaking in the event, Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said that the government is responsible for the health, economy, education and other legal rights of the citizens.

“When we call ourselves rulers, then we are also responsible for the health, economy, education and other rights of the people. We made a lot of efforts to establish the Islamic system. Many problems have been solved and many more problems remain for which we must soon find solutions,” Muttaqi said.

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UNSC’s ceasefire resolution an ‘initial step’ to ending Palestinian ‘genocide’: IEA

The IEA condemns the crimes committed by the “Zionist regime” and supports the historic right of the Palestinian people to have an independent state.



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Deputy spokesperson for the foreign ministry Hafiz Zia Ahmad Takal says the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan deems the adoption of this week’s resolution by the United Nations Security Council aimed at ending the war in Gaza as an initial step to end the genocide of the people in Gaza.

Takal said in a statement on Wednesday that it requires realistic negotiation to lead to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, ensuring a normal life for its people.

IEA condemns the crimes committed by the “Zionist regime” – IEA foreign ministry

He stated that the IEA condemns the crimes committed by the “Zionist regime” and supports the historic right of the Palestinian people to have an independent state.

Ceasefire resolution

The UN Security Council on Monday overwhelmingly approved its first resolution endorsing a cease-fire plan aimed at ending the eight-month war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The US-sponsored resolution welcomes a cease-fire proposal announced by President Joe Biden that the United States says Israel has accepted.

It calls on the militant Palestinian group Hamas to accept the three-phase plan.

The resolution — which was approved with 14 of the 15 Security Council members voting in favor and Russia abstaining — calls on Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

Whether Israel and Hamas agree to go forward with the plan remains in question, but the resolution’s strong support in the UN’s most powerful body puts added pressure on both parties to approve the proposal.

Netanyahu has been skeptical of the deal, saying that Israel is still committed to destroying Hamas.



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AWCC opens new customer services center in Parun, Nuristan

Nuristan residents have welcomed the opening of AWCC’s new customer services center and the expansion of telecommunication and internet services in the province



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Afghan Wireless Communications Company (AWCC) has officially opened a new customer services center in Parun city, the capital of Nuristan province.

AWCC officials said at the launch of the new center that customers experiencing problems with AWCC can now visit the facility for assistance – for both mobile phone and internet services.

Attaullah Sahil, head of AWCC in the eastern zone, said that telecommunication facilities will also now be increased for residents of Parun city.

Local officials, meanwhile, stated that in most areas of Nuristan, people do not have access to telecommunication and internet services and that they are trying to expand such services in the province.

“We are happy that Afghan Wireless opened its customer service office in Paron city,” said Khalid Fateh, the local director of the telecommunication and information department.

“No other network works in Nuristan except Afghan Wireless” – Nuristan resident

“We request that Afghan Wireless activate its sales offices in every district of Nuristan,” Fateh added.

Officials also said that security of telecommunication infrastructure in the province is secure enough for companies to expand their networks.

Nuristan residents have meanwhile welcomed the opening of the AWCC’s new customer services center and the expansion of telecommunication and internet services.

They have however called for the cost of the services to be reduced.

“Many thanks to Afghan Wireless for building this big office,” a resident said.

“No other network works in Nuristan except Afghan Wireless. We want more conveniences,” said another resident.

Making a difference

AWCC was recognised as Afghanistan’s Telecom Company of the Year at the 2024 Asian Telecom Awards earlier this year.

This award reflects the company’s market leadership in Afghanistan, with more than five million subscribers, the country’s largest 4G LTE network and a growing high-speed, nationwide fiber network.

In the last year, AWCC has increased its active customer base by more than 10%, primarily driven by increased data users attracted by the company’s pioneering digital-first products and services, including its innovative ASAN mobile application.

To meet this rapidly growing data demand across the country, AWCC upgraded and expanded its market-leading mobile network by almost 15%, adding nearly 200 sites to reach even more rural and remote regions.

In parallel, the company inaugurated its Kabul-Mazar-Hairaton fiber route, connecting Central Asia to South Asia and placing Afghanistan at the center of the region’s digital connectivity hub.

AWCC also ramped up its efforts to help Afghanistan and its people in the past year by utilizing its technology to deliver critical support to tackle several humanitarian challenges.

The company mobilized swiftly to provide emergency connectivity, financial, logistics and humanitarian assistance following a series of severe earthquakes in Herat, and ongoing communications support for the influx of returnees at Afghanistan’s borders, through the set-up of temporary mobile sites and distribution of free SIM cards.

Asian Telecom Awards honors businesses and initiatives like AWCC that have not only driven progress in the telecom industry but have also ignited transformative shifts that have reshaped the digital landscape.


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Iran Air starts flights to Kabul



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The Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation said Wednesday that Iran Air International Airlines has launched direct flights to Kabul for the first time.

The ministry said in a statement that Iran Air will have flights to Kabul once a week.

According to the statement, Ariana Afghan Airlines and Kam Air, Mahan, Kish, and Yazd Airlines also have flights to Iran.

Earlier, Turkish Airlines also resumed its flights to Kabul.

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