On 24 December 2022, the Taliban issued a letter banning women from working in international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Several international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) operating in Afghanistan temporarily paused operations, including many protection partners. However, following an ad hoc exception, particularly for health and primary education activities, some partners partially resumed their activities. At present about 24% of the partners (14 out of 59) have their activities suspended.
With humanitarian operations significantly obstructed through this ban, the protection partners have seen an increase in reliance on negative coping mechanisms such as early marriage or child labour. The directive will further compound the overlapping humanitarian and economic crises occurring in Afghanistan, where 11.6 million women and girls are in need of humanitarian assistance in 2023 and female-headed households who are estimated to make up 10% of the population may no longer have access to critical protection services.
The protection risks requiring immediate attention in the period covered by this analysis are:
1.) Denial of resources, opportunities, and services
2.) Unlawful restriction to freedom of movements
3.) Psychological and emotional abuse
4.) Impediments to access to legal identity, remedies, and justice
5.) Early and forced marriage