The United Nations in a report released Monday said the war in Afghanistan was the world’s deadliest conflict for children last year, a status the country has held for five consecutive years.
The UN report says that 874 children were killed by the war throughout 2019.
It adds that these numbers were among the 3,410 young Afghans who suffered from “grave violations,” which included maiming, abduction, sexual abuse and attacks at schools and hospitals.
In this report, the Taliban are blamed for causing over" 1,238 child deaths and injuries,"the largest number attributed to any single group.
Meanwhile, the report has attributed just under a third of the child deaths and injuries documented to pro-government forces, including 248 that were attributed to international forces.
The report says measures were taken by international forces to protect Afghan civilians from combat and the decreased number of child casualties from airstrikes.
The report lists 62 parties that have carried out serious violations against children elsewhere in the world.
Among them are eight governments and 54 armed groups, including anti-Balaka forces and the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Central African Republic; the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Myanmar’s military known as the Tatmadaw; and the Islamic State in Iraq.
“I am extremely concerned about the increased number of children killed and maimed by all parties,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said about Afghanistan in the annual Children in Armed Conflict report. “I remain concerned about casualties caused by government and international forces, and I urge them to review, strengthen and implement current tactical protocols to prevent (them).”
The report acknowledges steps taken by the Afghan government to prevent child recruitment.
The report states that 64 boys — some as young as 10 — were recruited by the Taliban, Afghan National Police and pro-government militias last year. According to the report, the boys were used for combat support and sexual purposes.
Other countries including Syria, Palestine and Somalia were also named the top places in the world where children had been deprived of education and health care because of attacks or closures of facilities for military use.
This comes as a new report by the Afghanistan Statistics and Information Authority (NSIA), says that from an estimated 32.9 million population in the country, 15.3 million are under 15 years of age.