The United Nations has told all Afghan staff not to report to work in Afghanistan for 48 hours for security reasons while it seeks additional information from the Taliban authorities about a ban on Afghan women working for the world body, UN sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
"We remind de facto authorities that United Nations entities cannot operate and deliver life-saving assistance without female staff," UNAMA said in a statement.
Since toppling a Western-backed government in 2021, the Taliban has tightened controls over women, including barring women from university and closing girls' high schools.
In December, the Taliban administration stopped most female NGO employees from working, which aid workers say has made it more difficult to reach female beneficiaries and could lead donors to hold back funding.
Restrictions against female United Nations workers
The restrictions did not initially apply to the United Nations and some other international organizations. The UN Deputy Secretary-General in January flagged concerns that authorities could next restrict Afghan women working at international organizations.
Spokespeople for the Taliban administration could not be immediately reached for comment.
A scheduled UN briefing to update member states on the situation in Afghanistan in New York on Wednesday was postponed at the last minute without explanation.
Spokespeople for UNAMA and the UN humanitarian operations in Afghanistan did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether staff in rest of the country were affected.
The Taliban administration, which seized power as US-led forces withdrew from Afghanistan after 20 years of war, says it respects women's rights in accordance with its strict interpretation of Islamic law.