In response to the Taliban’s prohibition on girls returning to secondary schools, the World Bank has postponed four projects in Afghanistan for a total of $600 million (£458 million).
Education, health, and agriculture were among the areas in which the programs sought to make improvements.
They also placed a “significant emphasis on ensuring that girls and women participate in and benefit from the support,” according to a statement from the bank.
Following months of restrictions, the Taliban revoked a decision to let schools to reopen last week, citing security concerns.
A decision on female students’ uniforms, according to the Taliban, would only be made in accordance with “Sharia law and Afghan custom” once a decision on male students’ clothes had been reached.
It has prompted widespread worldwide outrage, and demonstrators gathered near the Ministry of Education in the country’s capital Kabul on Saturday in order to demand that the schools be reopened.
Protesters call on the Taliban to reopen girls’ educational institutions.
Girls’ tears as a result of chaos in Taliban classrooms U-turn
The World Bank projects were designed to provide women and girls with the same level of access to services as men in Afghanistan, according to the organization.
They are supported by the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), which was suspended last year following the Taliban’s seizure of power of the nation.
Starting at the beginning of this month, the World Bank’s executive board approved a proposal to deploy more than $1 billion from the Global Development Fund to support “critical needs,” such as those in education, agriculture, and health.
According to the plan, the money would not be given to Taliban officials, but would instead be disbursed through United Nations agencies and humanitarian aid organizations.
ARTF donors will select four projects totaling around $600 million to assist pressing needs in the education, health, and agriculture sectors, as well as community livelihoods, according to a statement released by the bank on March 1.
This $600 million will be augmented by additional allocations from the ARTF during 2022, if and when conditions permit, according to the statement.
“This staged strategy is intended to be flexible and adaptable, taking into account the fact that the situation on the ground continues to be fluid.”
The BBC believes that the initiatives will only be restarted if the bank is confident in its ability to achieve its aims in the short term.
Taliban acts were regarded as “profoundly worrisome” by officials from 10 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, in a joint statement released on Friday.
Meetings with the Taliban, which were due to take place in Qatar, have also been canceled by the United States State Department.