Taliban interference into UN and NGO activities has continued to rise throughout 2023, limiting beneficiary access to lifesaving assistance, SIGAR reported today.
“According to UN OCHA, “violence against humanitarian personnel, assets, and facilities had a significant impact on the humanitarian response in August.” Implementing partners documented 127 access incidents that challenged their ability to provide aid in August 2023, including the arrest of 26 aid workers”, SIGAR said.
The SIGAR report added, this represents a 73% increase in detentions compared to the same period in 2022. In addition to arrests, Taliban members are demanding staff lists and “sensitive data,” directly interfering with program activities, staff recruitment, and beneficiary selection. As a result, 49 UN humanitarian partner programs temporarily suspended operations in August, and 36 remained suspended as of September.
UN OCHA reported the most significant operational challenges were delays in signing memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with the Taliban, and Taliban interference with staff recruitment. In response, UN OCHA is facilitating the first technical coordination meetings for humanitarian cluster coordinators and ministerial representatives at the national and subnational levels to address the signing of MOUs and other constraints.