Afghan aid at risk from Taliban ban on women, warns United Nations

Standoff between UN and Taliban may lead loss of billions in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan

A Taliban fighter stands guard in Kabul
A Taliban fighter stands guard in Kabul. UN flights carrying cash for humanitarian aid into Kabul have already been suspended. Photograph: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editorFri 6 Jan 2023 09.44 GMT

The UN’s lead humanitarian coordinator has said UN-supplied aid cannot continue if the Taliban do not lift their ban on women working for humanitarian aid agencies in Afghanistan.

Martin Griffiths, the head of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, is due to visit Kabul shortly to discuss the impasse.

Although he said he did not want to pre-empt talks and was willing to examine workarounds on the ban, his remarks suggest a standoff is developing between the UN and the Taliban that could lead to billions in aid being cut off in the long term.

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The creator of the CRISPR babies has been released from a Chinese prison

He Jiankui created the first gene-edited children. The price was his career. And his freedom.

By Antonio Regaladoarchive page April 4, 2022

He Jiankui


The daring Chinese biophysicist who created the world’s first gene-edited children has been set free after three years in a Chinese prison.

He Jiankui created shock waves in 2018 with the stunning claim that he’d altered the genetic makeup of IVF embryos and implanted them into a woman’s uterus, leading to the birth of twin girls. A third child was born the following year.

Following international condemnation of the experiment, He was placed under home arrest and then detained. In December 2019, he was convicted by a Chinese court, which said the researcher had “deliberately violated” medical regulations and had “rashly applied gene editing technology to human assisted reproductive medicine.”

His release from prison was confirmed by people familiar with the situation and He answered his mobile phone when contacted early today. “It’s not convenient to talk right now,” he said before hanging up.

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