Working as a female mental health professional in Afghanistan, life for 42-year-old Alia has not been easy under the country’s Taliban rulers.
Since seizing power last year, the Taliban have imposed increasing restrictions on women’s freedoms – from education to clothing, to their everyday movements, and now work. This has made it hard for Alia, who is the primary provider for her family, to pursue her career with the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
The nature of Alia’s work, and the international organisation she was associated with, had allowed her to continue working, even when other women across the country were being forced out of their jobs.
“After the Taliban came, there was some fear among us [female employees] but we managed to work by adhering to their rules, such as covering in a hijab as prescribed by them and always travelling to work with a mahram [a male family member],” she recalled.
“It was extremely challenging, but we were providing much-needed services to some very remote and underprivileged regions of this country,” she said.
“They even allowed our team of doctors to work. We were providing crucial services to women and children, and I also worked with patients who needed mental health support,” she added, the sense of pride evident in her voice.
But all this came to a halt on Saturday, when the Taliban banned women from working in local and foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Afghanistan.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Economy elaborated that a lack of proper hijab-wearing among female employees had led to the ban “until further notice”.
Read full story on Al Jazeera