The United Nations has expressed alarmed over increasing numbers of deaths of Afghan children due to conflicts and is urging parties to conflicts to take action. According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) the first four months of 2017 witnessed the highest recorded number of child civilian casualties resulting from conflict-related incidents in Afghanistan, including the highest number of children killed, for the same comparable period since the Mission began documenting cases. Between 1 January and 30 April 2017, UNAMA preliminarily recorded 283 child deaths, a 21 per cent increase compared with the same period in 2016.
Children are killed by explosive remnants of war in civilian-populated areas and in ground fighting. Many of the more than 700 children injured have suffered life-changing injuries, including loss of limbs, as well as significant and lasting trauma such as witnessing the death of siblings, parents, destruction to their homes or displacement.
UNAMA again urged parties to the conflict to prioritize the protection of children and welcomed the commitment of the Government to formally ratify Protocol V to the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons. The Mission urged all parties to the conflict to commence marking, clearing, removing and destroying explosive remnants of war left behind from fighting in areas under their territorial control.
Most of these children died in one of three ways: unexploded ordnance left by any of the fighting forces caused 203 civilian casualties, 81 percent of them children. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including pressure-plate devices the Taliban plant in roads civilian vehicles use, killed and injured 218 civilians – a 12 percent increase. Such devices are illegal under international law because of their indiscriminate nature. (Source: UN)