Last quarter, Taliban interference with NGO work escalated, leading to a steady decline in humanitarian access in 2023, with a 32% increase in incidents between January and May 2023 as compared to the same period in 2022. According to USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs (BHA), Taliban interference in humanitarian assistance is the main barrier to beneficiaries accessing aid in 2023.
BHA reported to SIGAR that specific instances of Taliban interference, including attempted aid diversion and bureaucratic roadblocks, disrupted UN aid provision in Daykundi, Ghor, and Uruzgan Provinces this quarter. The most recent publicly available data from BHA show there were a total of 110 access incidents related to Taliban interference in April 2023 alone.
According to analysis from USIP, the Taliban are comfortable accepting foreign support insofar as they can closely monitor the organizations, including restricting and controlling them, and claim some credit for the provision of the benefits.
Since December 2021, the UN has tracked 173 Taliban directives concerning humanitarian assistance, including 37 related to restrictions on female participation in aid provision. Directives are enforced haphazardly, and humanitarian actors rely on fragile verbal exemptions at the local level, but Taliban interference persists. The UN tracked 299 incidences with the Taliban between February and May 2023 alone.
BHA told SIGAR that as of June 2023, four UN partners continue to partially suspend operations due to the Taliban directive barring women from humanitarian work.
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