Donors suggest Taliban attitude hurts aid to Afghans
ISLAMABAD, June 8 (Kyodo) - A group 16 Western donors to Afghanistan said Friday the increasingly intransigent attitude of the country's Taliban rulers may make getting aid to Afghans extremely difficult, if not impossible.
''There is a need (for the Taliban) to be aware that if these difficulties increase they could change the activities of the donor countries for Afghanistan,'' Hans-Joachim Daerr, German ambassador to Pakistan representing the Afghan Support Group (ASG) of Western donors and U.N. relief agencies, told a press conference.
The ASG held a two-day review in Islamabad of its aid activities to take stock of the latest political situation and humanitarian activities in Afghanistan.
''There is no immediate prospect of a political settlement of the conflict and the humanitarian situation continues to worsen,'' Daerr said.
The Taliban government has made it obligatory for foreigners working or visiting Afghanistan to abide by the Taliban's interpretation of an Islamic code of conduct and the World Food Program (WFP) and other U.N. agencies have said working conditions in Afghanistan are now close to impossible to cope with.
The WFP has threatened to cease operating nearly 150 bakeries in Kabul after June 15 if its request to allow Afghan women to conduct a survey of who is getting the bread is not met.
''The WFP will not provide bread for blind distribution,'' and will close its operations if it cannot discover who is getting the food aid, the German ambassador said.
The Taliban rulers refuse to allow women to take part in economic activity and has recently said women must begin wearing the burqa, a shapeless outer garment that covers the entire body, leaving room only for an eye-hole, which is itself often veiled.
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