A daily struggle is finding enough food and fending off the cold.
In a country where women are bar from secondary and university education, as well as many jobs, the world’s largest humanitarian organisation now risks overlooking those in most need.
And it happens at the cruellest time of year, when famine and frostbite are on the horizon.
As the unrest in Afghanistan escalates, the highest-ranking UN delegation to visit the country since the Taliban seized control in 2021 has arrived in Kabul.
The most senior female official at the UN, Amina Mohammad, was sent with a team that include Sima Bahous, the head of UN Women.
To reverse restrictions, notably a new ban on female aid workers, which is now consider as jeopardising critical life-saving humanitarian operations, they have been tasked with talking with senior Taliban commanders at the highest level possible.
The UN team met with the temporary foreign minister of the Taliban.
Ramiz Alakbarov, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan, underscores the all-too-obvious in a statement by saying, “People are freezing and time is running out.”
We urgently need to construct shelters, but in this patriarchal environment, we cannot carry out this task without female relief workers who can communicate with the women in the households.
Not only did the UN send a senior delegation, but they also sent one that a woman led with extensive leadership experience.
One aid official who frequently sits in the room during discussions to balance the demands of the Taliban leadership with international standards on human rights said, “If there are women in the room, there is a better possibility that the painful debates about women will take place.”
Foreign delegations sending all-male teams are routinely chastise for promoting the Taliban’s conservative mindset.
The UN Security Council, the highest body in the world, has denounced the “growing erosion of the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms” with uncommon unanimity.
Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi was the first representative of the Taliban to meet with the foreign delegation in Kabul.
His spokesman stated on social media that the minister hoped the delegation would “provide Afghanistan’s honest picture to the world” at the beginning of the summit.
He also reaffirmed the Taliban’s claim that sanctions and a lack of international recognition of their rule impeded their capacity to rule efficiently.
Temperatures in Afghanistan are falling to as low as -17C, and they are significantly lower in mountainous regions.
Millions of households are battling to survive the night because electricity is intermittent or nonexistent. Hardscrabble existence in one of the poorest nations in the world has always been tough, but not to this extent.
The frantic cry of aid organizations scrambling to comply with the latest Taliban government order barring Afghan female aid workers is, “We cannot deliver humanitarian help in Afghanistan without the involvement of half the society.” organizations.