More than 160 Afghans have frozen to death this month

Afghanistan’s coldest winter in over a decade has killed more than 160 people, Taliban officials said on Thursday. With 97 per cent of Afghans living under poverty, most have been unable to afford heating their homes.

A spokesperson for the Taliban’s Minister of Disaster Management quoted by Reuters said “162 people have died due to cold weather since January 10 until now,” with at least 84 deaths last week.

The bitterly cold winter has caught Afghanistan in the middle of an ever worsening humanitarian crisis. In some places, the temperatures have been plummeting to as low as -30 celsius. And heavy snowfalls have made many places unreachable.

With 6 million Afghans being on the verge of famine and 28 million depending on aid to survive, the Afghan rulers’ last month’s edict of banning women from working as aid workers, forced major international aid agencies suspend their operations.

But despite international condemnations and intense lobbying, the group has refused to change course on its restrictions on women and girls’ rights.