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Every single Afghan child affected by conflict, charity says as war turns 18

07 Oct 2019 1TV News

Every single child born and raised in Afghanistan has experienced war in their country, an aid agency said as the conflict turned 18.

In a statement, Save the Children said that an estimated 20 million children wake up every day in fear of gunshots or bombs and being killed or maimed in their streets, schools or homes.

Over 12,500 children were killed or maimed in the violence between 2015 and 2018, the statement said. 274 children were recruited for combat or support roles, it added.

According to the agency, 3.7 million children are currently out of school, 60 percent of them being girls.

3.8 million children need humanitarian assistance, 600,000 of whom are suffering with severe acute malnutrition.

“Imagine turning 18 having known nothing but conflict and war throughout your entire childhood and formative years,” said Onno van Manen, Save the Children’s country director in Afghanistan. “Life in Afghanistan means living in daily fear of explosions, missing school because it’s too unsafe and not knowing if your parents or siblings will make it home. Violence has been consistently high in recent months. In August alone, an average of 74 people were killed every day.”

The agency said that Afghan children are accustomed to these levels of violence. Children are remarkably resilient, but no child should consider the sound of explosions or attack helicopters normal. Children in Afghanistan need to be protected and feel safe to go to school and work towards a future, it said.

The charity called on the warring sides to do everything in their power to stop killing and maiming children and adhere to international laws and starts.

“It’s time to stop this war on children. If international humanitarian laws are breached children suffer from it, there needs to be an independent investigation with the aim of holding perpetrators to account. The international community must not forget these children, who are in dire need of physical and psychological support to recover and educational support to rebuild their lives. They have the right to do so in safety without fear of further harm,” it said.

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