‘Every child raised in Afghanistan experiences war’

KABUL, Afghanistan

Every single child born and raised in Afghanistan has experienced war and conflict since the start of 18-year war between the coalition forces and the Taliban, said an international charity report on Monday.

Since the start of the conflict on Oct. 7, 2001, an estimated 20 million children wake up every day in fear of gunshots or bombs and being killed or injured in their streets, schools or homes, according to the report by Save the Children, a U.K.-based children’s rights organization.

Over 12,500 children were killed or injured in the violence in 2015-2018 alone, while 274 children were recruited for combat or support roles, the report said.

More than 3.7 million children are currently out of school, 60% of them girls, it added.

In 2014-2018, over 8,000 civilians fell victim to explosives such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines, read the report.

84% of the victims were children, it said.

In the war-ravaged country, some 280,000 people fled their homes this year, more than half of them children.

“Imagine turning 18, having known nothing but conflict and war throughout your entire childhood and formative years,” said Onno van Manen, the country director of the charity in Afghanistan, and added: “Life in Afghanistan means living in daily fear of explosions, missing school, and not knowing if your parents or siblings will make it home because it’s too unsafe”.

“Violence has been consistently high in recent months,” with a daily average death toll of 74 people in August alone, he stressed.

The charity also urged the parties to do everything in their power to stop killing and injuring children during this terrible conflict and adhere to international laws and standards.

The bloody violence in Afghanistan claimed more than 3,000 lives from all sides in the past two months amid escalating fighting, having surrounded September’s landmark presidential polls in the country.

Anadolu Agency’s coverage in August and September indicates new highs in Taliban-claimed bombings and coordinated group assaults as well as aggressive air and ground operations by the Afghan and U.S. forces.
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