The Human Cost of War for Afghan Children

2016-07-global-crd-detention-photo-04.jpg

Girls in a makeshift classroom in Afghanistan. (Human Rights Watch)

By Samira Abrar

Youth growing up in Afghanistan today have never known peace, and after almost two decades of U.S. development efforts, living conditions in the country may be worse than when the “peacemaking” started in 2001. 

War has had a terrible impact on children in Afghanistan.

After almost two decades of United States development efforts, with the hopes of helping the war-weary country take a path to stability and self-reliance, little has changed on the ground for children growing up today in Afghanistan. They are not safer. They do not have more rights. And they have never known peace.

The truth is, living conditions in the country may be worse than when the “peacemaking” started in 2001.

We often see numbers and figures about the country in various survey findings, human rights reports and corruption indexes. But what do these numbers mean to Afghans?  

In 2017, 8,000 children were reported killed and hurt in conflicts from Syria and Yemen to Congo and Afghanistan. Afghan children account for more than 40 percent of the total. Casualties among Afghan children had increased by 24 percent in 2016.

Beyond the physical cost is the mental toll of war. Almost half of the children between ages 7 and 17, or 3.7 million, do not attend school, and the rate of out-of-school children, has increased to 2002 levels. Girls account for 60 percent of this number.

War has decimated the educational system in Afghanistan. Attacks on schools have risen, especially in conflict zones, which now are expanding. Operating schools in rural parts of Afghanistan face overwhelming challenges. Since the country has one of the lowest electricity usages in the world, students have limited access to basic in-class and out-of-classroom educational resources. These conditions make learning difficult, if not impossible.

On top of that, over the past few years as a "war on peace" began, child exploitation in Afghanistan has intensified. Children have been recruited and used in combat and to plant improvised explosive devices. Many human rights organizations have found children being detained on serious charges, including being Taliban fighters, would-be suicide bombers, bomb makers and alleged associates of armed groups. A lot of these children, still under the age of 18, are being held in a high-security prison for adults without due process. 

2016-07-global-crd-detention-photo-04.jpg
Boys in a youth prison in Feyzabad, Afghanistan, that may hold national security suspects. (Agencja Fotograficzna Caro / Alamy Stock Photo)

Afghanistan has one of the youngest populations in the world. Almost half of the country’s 35 million people are under the age of 15. Despite all the promises for protecting children’s right and improving their lives, youth still remain the most tragic victims as the country rolls from one war to another.

The U.S. and the international community are not helping with their spending in Afghanistan. Instead of funding and privatizing the war and creating limited results that make aid dependency greater, aid should focus on meeting the needs of children, the most affected and vulnerable population in Afghanistan.

Because of extreme poverty, an estimated quarter of all Afghan children work for a living. They endure long hours for little or no pay, and toil in labor-intensive industries, including carpet-weaving, brickmaking, mining, metalwork, and farming.

The hazards of war lead to other heartbreaking consequences. Sometimes, families must sell children for food.

Still, the war machine diverts attention away from the child rights crisis in Afghanistan. While the poor suffer, the rich keep getting richer.

It’s a familiar, sad story.

Anyone who cares about justice for all must stand up for the rights of children in Afghanistan and divest from the U.S. war machine that is funding this humanitarian crisis.

If we don’t, what hope for peace do any of us have?


Samira Abrar is a graduate of American University in Kabul, Afghanistan, with a degree in law. She has worked for USAID-funded rule of law projects and the MEC Anti-Corruption Committee in Afghanistan for several years, supporting Afghan court systems. Samira also has worked with CODEPINK-Women for Peace as social media campaign manager and now works in CODEPINK’s Divest from the War Machine campaign team.

Comments

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Mark Davson Financial Loan Firm
    commented 2019-05-30 12:22:58 -0400
    Attention:

    Are you looking for a REAL FINANCIAL LOAN COMPANY to give you loan between 5,000 Euro and 5,000,000 Euro (for a business or company loan, personal loan, home loans, car loan, debt consolidation loans, venture capital, healthcare loan, etc.)
    Or have you been denied a loan from a bank or financial institution because of one reason or the other?
    Apply now and get real financial loan processed and approved within 3 days.
    MARK DAVSON FINANCIAL LOAN FIRM, we are an “Internationally Accredited Loan Lender” that give REAL FINANCIAL LOANS to individuals and companies in a low interest rate of 2% with your valid identity card or your country international passport for verification.
    Our loan Repayment starts 1 (One) year after you have received your loan, and repayment duration ranges from between 3 to 35 years duration.
    Our company also need a person that can be our company representative in your country.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RESPONSE AND PROCESSING OF YOUR LOAN REQUEST WITHIN 2 WORKING DAYS,
    Contact us directly through this email: markdavsonfinancialloanfirm@gmail.com

    Contact us with the following information:

    Full Name:____________________________
    Amount Needed as Loan:________________
    Loan Duration:_________________________
    Purpose for Loan:______________________
    Date of Birth:___________________________
    Gender:_______________________________
    Marital status:__________________________
    Contact Address:_______________________
    City/Zip code:__________________________
    Country:_______________________________
    Occupation:____________________________
    Mobile Phone:__________________________

    Send your request for immediate response to: markdavsonfinancialloanfirm@gmail.com

    Thank you
    C.E.O. Rev. Mark Davson
    MARK DAVSON FINANCIAL LOAN FIRM
    United Kingdom, England (UK)
    Email:markdavsonfinancialloanfirm@gmail.com
    Email: markdavsonloanfirm@hotmail.com
    Email: markdavsonloanlfirm@europe.com
    Website:http://davsonfinancialloanfirm.webs.com/
    WhatsApp:+447404320361
  • Mark Davson Financial Loan Firm
    commented 2019-05-30 12:22:17 -0400
    We are Currently offering a floating loan scheme at interest rate of 2% with proper valid identity card for verification.
    You can send your loan request for any amount of loan you need.
    We offer loans ranging from $5,000.00 USD Min. $50,000,000.00 USD Max.
    We long-term credit from five (5) to fifty (50) years maximum.
    We give the following type of loan: Project loan, Refinance loan, business investment loans, car or vehicle Loans, Student loan, debt consolidation, housing Loans, Personal loans, travel and vacation loan, Christmas and new year loan.
    Our company also need a person that can be our company representative in your country.
    Contact our STEVEN WILLIAMS FINANCIAL LOAN FIRM office via email: stevenwills0001@gmail.com

    If you are interested in our financial offer and wants to acquire a loan from us, contact us and give us the details below, and that will be needed to initiate the
    loan sum terms and conditions accordingly.

    Name: ___________________________
    Name: ____________________________
    Gender: _______________________________
    Marital status: _______________________
    Contact Address: ______________________
    City / Zip: ________________________
    Country: ______________________________
    Date of Birth: ________________________
    Amount Needed as Loan: ________________
    Loan Duration: ________________________
    Monthly Income / Yearly Income: _________
    Occupation: ___________________________
    Purpose for Loan: _____________________
    Phone: ________________________________
    Fax: __________________________________

    In recognition of these details will be sent a well calculated Terms and Conditions including the agreement.

    Thank you for your patronage!
    Best Regards,
    STEVEN WILLIAMS FINANCIAL LOAN FIRM
    Email: stevenwills0001@gmail.com
    Website: http://stevenwilliamsfinancialloanfirm.webs.com/
    Twitter: stevenwills0001
  • Maria S Calef
    commented 2018-08-18 10:13:27 -0400
    The mother of all these badness and evil doing is the war, the foreign military occupation that is destroying that country. The scourge of the war and the occupation has bring the country to the brink of annihilation and violence. People of Afghanistan are resisting occupation and Washington doesn’t want admit that. The problem, violence and the humanitarian crisis will ended when USA left and let the people of Afghanistan build their country and starting put together their lives. USA is not GOD! and never will control the world.