The United Nations will stay in Afghanistan to deliver aid to millions of desperate Afghans despite the Taliban's restrictions on its female staff, but funding is drying up, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday.
Guterres, speaking to media after a meeting of envoys from more than 20 countries in Doha to discuss a common international approach to Afghanistan, also said concerns over the country's stability were growing.
"We stay and we deliver and we are determined to seek the necessary conditions to keep delivering…participants agreed on the need for a strategy of engagement," Guterres said.
The ban on female Afghan UN staff signalled by Taliban authorities last month was a violation of human rights, he said.
"We will never be silent in the face of unprecedented systemic attacks on women's and girls' rights," he said.
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He warned of a severe shortfall in financial pledges for its humanitarian appeal this year, which is just over 6% funded, falling short of the $4.6 billion requested for a country in which most of the population live in poverty.
He stressed the meeting had not been aimed at recognising the Taliban's administration – which no country has formally done. He said he was open to meeting Taliban officials when it was the "right moment to do so, but today is not the right moment".
The Taliban administration says it respect women's rights in accordance with their interpretation of Islamic law and that Afghanistan's territory would not be used for militancy or violence against other nations.