In Afghanistan, officials say at least 166 people have died since the start of the year as the country faces a wave of freezing winter weather with widespread snowfall. Authorities said the recent deaths were caused by floods, fires and gas leaks from home heaters used by Afghan families to cope with the cold. Tens of thousands of livestock have also died due to extreme winter weather, as more than half of Afghanistan’s population, including millions of children, is facing hunger and malnutrition due to a worsening humanitarian crisis that’s been exacerbated by international economic sanctions on the Taliban government. Two grieving parents shared the harrowing loss of their infant to the brutal cold.
Nek Mohammad: “The weather was extremely cold, and all the windows were frozen. It was Friday night. Because of the cold, we wrapped ourselves in all the blankets we had. It was 12:00 midnight when the child died from extreme cold. We had no choice but to wait until the morning, and then we buried him.”
Shamila: “When I saw that my son had died, I thought for a moment that my heart might stop beating.”
This comes as the United Nations and Taliban officials are negotiating exceptions to the ban on women aid workers, including guidelines that would allow some Afghan women to work in certain humanitarian operations.