The Afghan people are in for a “very difficult year ahead”, warned the top US aid official, as donors grapple with challenging a Taliban administration¬†crackdown on women and girls, more crises around the world and overall less funding.

The Taliban seized power in August 2021 as US-led forces withdrew after 20 years of war. Last month the Taliban began enforcing the ban on Afghan women working for the UN after stopping most women working for aid groups in December.

“We can never get used to this because it is both, of course, morally deplorable, but also it is so incredibly dumb,” Samantha Power, administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), told Reuters.