26 July 2021 - Afghanistan

AFGHANISTAN: Number of children killed or injured in Afghanistan rose more than 55% in first half of 2021

 A settlement near Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan

Photo: A settlement near Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan.

Save the Children is appalled by new UN data published today which shows that the number of children killed or injured in Afghanistan in the first half of this year rose more than 55% compared to a year ago to 1,682.

More children were killed or wounded in this period than in the same period of any other year for which the UNAMA has recorded data. Children accounted for 32% of all civilian casualties, up from 30% a year ago. In addition, the number of casualties that were girls almost doubled compared with the same period last year 622, marking the highest level ever recorded.  

Between 1 January and 30 June, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented a total of 5,183 civilian casualties (1,659 killed and 3,524 injured) – a rise of nearly 50% from a year ago. Among these 468 children were killed and 1,214 injured.

The figures reverse the trend of the previous four years, in which civilian causalities decreased in the first half of the year.  

Chris Nyamandi, Save the Children’s Country Director in Afghanistan, said: 

Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child, and these figures are yet another shocking indictment of our failure to protect Afghan children from the horrifying fallout of war.

“The record number of child casualties we’ve seen this year could not be any clearer indication that the recent escalation of the conflict is already having a catastrophic impact on children. As well as children being injured or killed in crossfires, we’ve also seen the destruction of schools and health facilities. This should be a wake-up call to the international community to keep investing in Afghanistan’s future before any progress that has been made here is undone.  

We call on all parties to stop the violence and protect civilians, especially children, and respect their obligations under international humanitarian law. All efforts must be made to agree an enduring peace settlement so that future generations of children can grow up in a country free of the fear of violence, death, and injury.

Instead of violence, all parties must focus on ensuring children can go back to school as soon as possible. Children have lost precious school time due to the double whammy of conflict and COVID-19, and our studies on school drop-out show that girls have been hardest hit. For Afghan children, education is their only chance for a way out of this devastation – they must not be denied that chance.”

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