Taliban set to lift ban on Afghan women in NGO sector 'soon'
Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, is on a tour of Afghanistan with the express purpose of reversing the draconian ban.
"These guidelines are close to being finalised and should soon be put into effect, that is what was conveyed," said Egeland after his meeting with Taliban governor Maulvi Hayatullah Mubarak.
Mubarak allegedly has "direct contact" with Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada, who first forced Afghan women out of the NGO workplace last year.
No timeframe was given for the potential change, which has been urged for by UN officials and Afghan women working in NGOs across the country for months.
In December 2022, the Taliban barred Afghan women from work in the sector, accusing them of not observing the Taliban’s strict rules on gender segregation.
The Taliban seized power in August 2021 as US-led forces withdrew following 20 years of war and occupation. It has since also tightened controls on women's access to public life, including barring women from university and closing girls' high schools.
The Taliban says it respects women's rights in accordance with its strict interpretation of Islamic law. Taliban officials said decisions on female aid workers are an "internal issue."
International staff are not affected by the ban.
The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan and the chair of the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls - visited Afghanistan between 27 April and 4 May.
"We are deeply concerned about the apparent perpetration in Afghanistan of gender persecution – a systematic and grave human rights violation and a crime against humanity," they said in a joint statement earlier in May.
Taliban officials and politicians have repeatedly stated that the ban was only ever a 'temporary measure' while guidelines were put in place.