Bitter cold kills scores in Afghanistan

STORY: In temperatures well below freezing, these children in Kabul are rummaging through plastic.

Among them is Mohammad.

He says he's plans to use this plastic to heat up his home - in place of firewood and coal, which he can't afford, as the country experiences its worst winter in more than a decade.

Authorities say more than 160 people have died from the cold this month.

Temperatures have dipped as low as -29.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

It comes in the midst of a severe economic crisis - with aid groups increasingly unable to operate in the conservative country.

Many of them have partially suspended operations - after a Taliban ruling that barred female NGO workers from work.

The impact of all of that - is being felt by families - like Ashour Ali's.

The 30-year-old shopkeeper is struggling to keep his five children fed and warm in the concrete basement where they live.

"My children are freezing at home, they don't have warm clothes to wear, and unfortunately this winter is so cold, overall our condition is so bad."

Ali also can't afford fuel to heat his home - and is resorting to burning plastic as well.

"Look at our condition, if elders cannot suffer this coldness, then how could children? The children wake up from the cold and cry at night until the morning, they are all unwell."

The United Nations is seeking an exemption to the Taliban ban on female aid workers - which it says comes at one of the most vulnerable times for many Afghans.