U.N. Security Council to meet on Taliban ban on female aid workers

FILE PHOTO: Afghan woman attends the inauguration of women's library in Kabul

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council is due to meet privately next week to discuss a decision by Afghanistan's Taliban-led administration to ban female humanitarian aid workers, diplomats said Wednesday.

The closed-door meeting was requested by the United Arab Emirates and Japan for Jan. 13. The UAE announced the request in a tweet.

The ban on female aid workers was announced by the Islamist Taliban-led administration on Dec. 24. It followed a ban imposed earlier last month on women attending universities. Girls were stopped from attending high school in March.

U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths is due to visit Afghanistan in the coming weeks to meet with Taliban officials.

At least four major global groups have suspended operations because they said they were unable to run their programs without female staff.

The United Nations has said that 97% of Afghans live in poverty, two-thirds of the population need aid to survive, and 20 million people face acute hunger.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Jonathan Oatis)