After his family fled their home amidst escalating violence, a child in pictured in a displacement camp in Kabul.
AT A GLANCE
- A new report from the United Nations Security Council shows that in just two years, 5,770 children have been killed or injured in Afghanistan.
- On top of that, during the first half of 2021, child casualties in the country hit their highest levels to date, with more than 550 children killed and an additional 1,400 injured.
- As part of the Together to #ENDviolence campaign, the End Violence Partnership is calling for governments, organisations and communities to protect children from violence in humanitarian settings – including those in Afghanistan.
New report shows 5,770 children have been killed or injured in Afghanistan in the last two years alone
A new report from the United Nations Security Council shows that in just two years, 5,770 children have been killed or injured in Afghanistan – and during that period, one in three casualties in Afghanistan was a child. On top of that, during the first half of 2021, child casualties in the country hit their highest levels to date. Since January 2019, more than 550 children were killed and an additional 1,400 were injured, with hundreds killed in the last few weeks alone.
“In Afghanistan, a generation of children have spent their whole lives in the midst of conflict,” said Dr Howard Taylor, the Executive Director of the End Violence Partnership. “And in every conflict setting, children face a much higher risk of violence, abuse and exploitation. This report places a spotlight on the dire situation facing children in Afghanistan, even before the recent surge in conflict, sounding the alarm for urgent – and comprehensive – action to keep children safe.”
A young girl reads after her school was attacked in Afghanistan. Both her legs were injured in the blast.
The report found from January 2019 to December 2020, 1,635 children lost their lives, and 4,135 were severely injured. In all, over 6,130 children suffered from grave violations in Afghanistan, including death and injury, recruitment or use as child soldiers, sexual violence, abduction, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access.
Of those children, nearly 586 died from complex and suicide attacks – an increase of 22 per cent when compared to the previous two years – while 507 were maimed. The report also notes nearly 300 attacks on schools and hospitals, events that shattered the support systems that might have protected children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such attacks place all children – but especially girls – at extreme risk violence and abuse. As conflict in Afghanistan surges, countless girls are being forced from the classroom and into exploitative conditions, including early marriage, child labour, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and more.
"We will have time to debate what went wrong in the war in Afghanistan, but in this critical moment we must listen to the voices of Afghanwomen and girls," said Malala Yousafzai, global activist and co-founder of the Malala Fund, in a recent op-ed. "They are asking for protection, for education, for the freedom and the future they were promised. We cannot continue tofail them. We have no time to spare."
As part of the Together to #ENDviolence campaign, the End Violence Partnership is calling for governments, organisations and communities to protect children from violence in humanitarian settings – including those in Afghanistan. It is essential that all humanitarian and refugee response plans priortise children’s protection, and that these programmes are adequately funded and implemented to keep kids safe. In places like Afghanistan, action to protect children in crisis is needed now more than ever before.
To help us demand action for children in humanitarian settings, endorse the Together to #ENDviolence policy proposals here.
Explore the recent findings from the United Nations Security Council.
A 13-year-old girl is pictured in Afghanistan.
Photo credit in order of appearance: UNICEF/UN0502894; UNICEF/UN0464832/UNICEF Afghanistan; UNICEF/UN0411675/Fazel