Alarmed and appalled: Civilian casualty data in Afghanistan highlight conflict’s brutal toll on children
Save the Children is alarmed and appalled to find that according to new data from the UN, close to 1,900 children have been killed or maimed in the Afghanistan conflict this year. The release of the data follows a series of recent attacks on civilians such as Saturday’s suicide bomb outside an education centre in Kabul that killed at least 24 people and wounded dozens.
Between 1 January and 30 September 2020, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan documented 5,939 civilian casualties, of which 1,848 (553 killed and 1,295 injured) were children – close to one-third of all casualties.
The total number of civilian casualties marked a 30 percent reduction compared to the same period last year, while this is the first time in five years UNAMA has recorded fewer than 2,000 child casualties in the first nine months of the year.
Responding to the release of today’s UN data, Chris Nyamandi Save the Children's Afghanistan Country Director said:
“The war in Afghanistan has killed at least 553 children this year so far. More than 1,295 children have been wounded and many of them will have life-altering injuries.
“It’s positive that there has been an apparent reduction in deaths this year, but Afghanistan is still one of the worst places in the world to be a child. This appalling loss of life and injury is egregious and acts as a stark reminder of the heavy toll the conflict continues to have on the innocent.
“Schools and hospitals have also been damaged or destroyed in the conflict, while teachers and medical staff have been killed. This has had a profound impact on an entire generation of young people who have only ever known war and whose education has been blighted.
“One 14-year-old girl in Saayad District, Sar-e-Pul Afghanistan recently told Save the Children, ‘When fighting breaks out, no place is safe in our village, but home is still better than outside. We hide in the corners of rooms.’
“We call on all parties to the conflict 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.
“This is also a wakeup call to the international community to keep investing in Afghanistan’s future and help preserve the fragile gains in education and healthcare over the past decades."
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