Amid the stalled Afghan peace process, data from the United Nations showed that at least 26,025 children have been killed or maimed since 2005, an average of five children every single day over the past 14 years.
A charity, Save the Children, said in its report that Afghanistan accounts for the greatest number of killing and maiming violations among conflict zones, terming it one of the world’s most dangerous countries for children.
As many as 874 children were killed and 2,275 children were maimed in 2019 in Afghanistan, representing 30 per cent of the total number of children killed and maimed across all the conflict situations covered in the report.
For four consecutive years, the combined tally has been above 3,000, and in 2019, 72 per cent of the cases were a “result of ground engagements between pro- and anti-government forces or of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in both suicide and non-suicide attacks.”
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In 2019, Afghanistan reported attacks on 70 schools and 75 hospitals, and six schools and two hospitals were used for military purposes. The report stated that in 2021, there will be critical opportunities for states and parties to conflict to take concrete actions to better protect and support children in conflict.
Save the Children called on the international communities to stop the war on children and work with the government of Afghanistan to ensure national laws related to the protection of children are fully resourced and rolled out nationwide. It urged donors to ensure that child protection work in conflict is funded in line with other life-saving interventions. It also suggested UN Security Council members use their power to hold perpetrators of grave violations accountable.
“Imagine living with the constant fear that today might be the day that your child is killed in a suicide attack or an airstrike. This is the grim reality for tens of thousands of Afghan parents whose children have been killed or injured,” Chris Nyamandi, Save the Children’s country director in Afghanistan, said in a statement.