KABUL – Thousands of Afghans have been left without vital assistance after the Taliban banned two major humanitarian organizations from the country on Thursday.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have been barred from operating in Afghanistan.
“The military commission of the Taliban decided to ban the operations of both organs (WHO and ICRC) throughout the country,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement to EFE.
Mujahid said the decision was made after the ICRC “practically” failed to “deliver on the promises, they made with the Islamic Emirate.”
He added that the decision regarding the WHO was taken after “in addition to security concerns, some suspicious activities were noticed during the vaccination campaign by the WHO” in Taliban controlled areas.
In addition to the ban, the Taliban has also withdrawn their “security guarantees” from the employees of the WHO and ICRC.
Mujahid said that “other humanitarian organizations can continue their operations normally.”
An ICRC spokesman in Afghanistan, Robin Waudo, confirmed to EFE the ICRC has suspended its operations in Afghanistan after the Taliban statement.
“We have seen the Taliban statement banning our activities and we also acknowledge that in the same statement they said they cannot and are not able to have security guarantees anymore, so we are suspending our activities and we are not doing our activities any longer,” he said.
He said they have stopped their operations “everywhere in Afghanistan.”
“We are worried because the people whom we assist, who have been affected by the conflict, will not be able to get that much needed assistances that we provide” he said.
He added that this decision by the Taliban is affecting “thousands” of Afghans who get daily assistance from the ICRC in various humanitarian fields, particularly health.
He said the ICRC has tried to contact the Taliban at the “highest level in order to try and get to the bottom of the problem and to have a dialogue with them” regarding the ban.
It comes a day after the Taliban officially rejected the government’s invitation to the upcoming Consultative Loya Jirga on Peace, calling it a government conspiracy to cling to power.
The Jirga is a grand council or traditional assembly of delegates from around Afghanistan set to take place on April 29.