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Editorial: Children as victims of war

Every child is born to be loved, protected and nurtured by family. The parents are the first who indicate unflinching love and cure to the child. Other family members also come to the fore with open arms to embrace the kid with a smiling face. This is what every kid needs. Now imagine the life of a child in war, especially in Afghanistan where war is continuing for over four decades with no end in sight. No one can imagine the devastating impacts of war on the child as deadly war continues to displace families from their own homes and villages, where physical and emotional security that a child needs is totally lost in the constant where the families are struggling with wartime. As conflicts continue to break out, the maddening impact is the possibility of the increase of being recruited as soldiers and suicide bombers by the terrorist groups. There were several child bombers that were arrested in the past several years. The war has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of children, with a large number of orphans. Likely nearly million others have been left wounded or disabled. As many as 2,019 children have been killed or injured in the conflict only in 2020. The casualties report a 16 percent increase in violence against children in 2020 compared to 2019. Physical, mental, economic, sexual, and other forms of violence have been recorded. Out of 1,391 child victims of violence, 948 are boys (68.2 percent), and 443 are girls (31.8 percent). This is as civilian casualties in Afghanistan have escalated sharply since peace talks between the Afghan and the Taliban peace teams began last year. UNAMA documented more than 3,000 civilians killed in a single year, with Afghanistan remaining among the deadliest places in the world to be a civilian. 2020 was deemed as the year of peace, but instead, thousands of Afghan civilians, including the children, perished due to conflict. Both sides, Afghan-Taliban, should take an immediate and concrete step to protect civilians and they should not squander a minute in taking the urgent steps to put a full stop to the Afghans suffering. Essentially, when war erupts and disasters hit communities – children are the first to often deeply vulnerable. Since Afghan and Taliban peace teams are back on the table of talks, they should make sure to agree on reduction of violence because it would provide basic levels of protection for the children. They are the leader of tomorrow and their lives worthy to be safeguarded for the sake of a peaceful and developed Afghanistan.

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