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Taliban agree to explore letting women work for agencies again in Kandahar, according to the aid chief

The head of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has said the Taliban have agreed to consider allowing women to resume development-related activities in Kandahar province.

David Beasley, the executive director of the WFP, said in a statement on Friday that talks with the militants “resulted in the agreement that the WFP, along with other U.N. agencies, will be given serious consideration to safely resume development-related activities in Kandahar in such a way that will not violate any of the traditions and culture of the Afghan people.”

The statement said the WFP is now looking into ways “to ensure that the presence of female employees in Kandahar is consistent with local customs and traditions.”

Beasley said the agreement was a “positive step” and that the WFP is committed to helping the Afghan people find “peace and dignity” and “fight the underlying causes of poverty and hunger.”

The Taliban had previously barred female aid workers from operating in Kandahar, where they have a strong presence. The issue is particularly pertinent in a country where women often face restrictions imposed by traditional customs and codes of conduct, especially in rural areas.