The suffering of children in Afghanistan continues, as worsening security in the war-torn country in the past four years has led to more than 14,000 violations against children, according to a new report released by the U.N. chief's office. The U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned "the alarming level" of grave violations committed by both the government forces and opposition armed groups in the 18-year war.
"More than 12,500 children have been verified killed or maimed between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2018, mostly from ground engagement, non-suicide Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), airstrikes and suicide and complex attacks," the report said. It added that the four years have been "particularly devastating for boys and girls," with children accounting for almost a third of all civilian casualties. That was "an increase of 82% in child casualties compared with the previous four years," Guterres said.
Armed groups were responsible for 43% of child casualties, 3,450 killed and 9,149 wounded, according to the report. While the Taliban were responsible for the majority, the number attributed to Daesh increased overall during the four-year period, he said. Government and pro-government forces were responsible for 30% of child casualties, the report said. "Attacks on schools and hospitals remained of great concern during the reporting period with 832 attacks verified, mostly by armed groups," it said. The report mentioned that children continued to be abducted and the U.N. team could verify a total of 231 cases during the same period.