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Editorial: Children as collateral damage

The Afghan war has taken its fair share of a toll on children, depriving them of their right to living a peaceful life and the right to acquiring their desirable education. There are numerous cases of underage boys being projected into conflicts, especially in areas under the Taliban’s write. These boys are then either killed or maimed as they are forced into taking part in the war without anybody there to inquire after them. A 16-year-old boy who has recently escaped the Taliban tells the tale. He substantiates the fact that children are used for guerilla attacks and roadside mines. The boy revealed that there were even foreign terrorists recruiting teenagers and training them for suicide attacks. There were earlier claims that such innocent children are brainwashed into thinking that war is necessary in Afghanistan and are thus killed. Meanwhile, last month, the United Nations in its annual report verified that around 3,410 grave violations against 3,245 Afghan children were committed by the militants, Afghan and international security forces in 2019 in Afghanistan. Of the total 3,149 children, including 2,226 boys, 910 girls and 13 unidentified sex, at least 874 were killed and 2,275 maimed. These are horrendous figures and shouldn’t be ignored. It’s very unfortunate to see our children being victimized and used as a fuel for a war they never want. In the meantime, the sad reality is that the alleged crimes against the children are not only noticed in the militants’ ranks; there are accounts of such exploitation and mistreatment of the children by the government as well while the foreign forces pay no heed to their lives. Similarly, the US Department of State had earlier claimed that there existed underage recruitments in the Afghan National Police ranking, saying that children were being used for sexual affairs and that the acts of Bacha Bazi were still prevalent among the police personnel. These horrendous circumstances that Afghan children live under are already more than enough. Subjecting them to imposed recruitment and exploitation is unbearable. Most unfortunate is the fact that they are being killed as collateral damage on battlefields. This issue should be paid proper heed. These horrific acts by the warring sides – including the government and the Taliban – are both unlawful and against Islamic teachings. The young generation is essentially being indoctrinated with a conflict-favoring ideology – something that would prove detrimental for the country by paving way for the continuation of this ugly war.

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