Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, January 17th, 2020

Children and Women Are The Real Victims of War in Afghanistan

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Children and Women Are The Real Victims  of War in Afghanistan

The long-lasting conflict continues to threaten the physical safety of Afghan civilians, especially the vulnerable classes such as women and children. As a result, Afghanistan persists to be among the most dangerous places for women and children in the world. According to the recent report revealed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), an average of nine children were killed or injured on a daily basis in the first nine months of 2019. It means that totally 631 children were killed and another 1,830 injured in Afghanistan during the abovementioned period. This marks an 11 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2018 which is largely due to a surge in suicide bomb attacks, landmines and ground conflicts between pro- and anti-government forces. For example, last week dozens of innocent passengers were killed in a landmine cultivated by the insurgent groups in Ghazni province.  According to Afghan government, Taliban are responsible for majority of civilians causalities, specifically they are responsible for  97% of children casualties in the country.
In a statement, Nusrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the roadside landmine blasts coupled with the suicide attacks are the two main factors behind the casualties of children. Children and women, especially lactating and pregnant women are the most vulnerable class in society that easily affected by insecurity, poverty and unemployment.  Unfortunately, despite the demand of the Afghan people for peace and prosperity, each year their dreams are receded to improving the security and economic situation. The terrorist groups can target anywhere and anyone without any differentiation between and armed and civilians. So, it is not expected that the pain of death and hunger of children and women decrease without finding fundamental solution to political and security issues.
Though all Afghan people are affected by insecurity and also unemployment, the agonizing lives of children and women are more affected by the general state of the society.  Many social anomalies, such as theft, killing, suicide, social harassment, divorce and ethical deviation result from the same insecurity and extensive poverty. Thus, a variety of diseases and mental illnesses are also appearing due to chorionic food insecurity and mental discomfort.  The death rates of women and children cannot be analyzed separated from the security, political and economic factors.  As a whole, the situation of the society will not improve as long as there is no positive change in general political and economic condition of the country. In this case, it is not expected that lactating and pregnant women and young children who need especial care and attention are not die or not face malnutrition. When men are unemployed and unable to earn the necessary expenses for their families, it’s obvious that women and their children cannot enjoy healthy eating.
Unfortunately, with passing every year, the victims of women and children are increasing due to the mentioned factors. 2018 was declared the worst year for children in Afghanistan, but this year is seemingly going to break that record because the figures of civilians killed and maimed between January and September this year is already 94% of the total 2018 numbers. These appalling figures show how lack of security continues to threaten Afghanistan’s beleaguered children. On the other hand, poverty is yet another problem that they are enduring. It’s because economic impoverishment is the key issue resulted in making them be prone to violence; recruitment into armed groups; unsafe migration; various forms of exploitation and abuse.
In general, Afghan children have suffered, through no fault of their own, in the worst possible way during the ongoing conflict, which has lasted more than a generation. The onus for children’s safety should now be shifted onto all stakeholders – including the government, civil society, communities, warring parties, and families – who should discharge their humanitarian duty in this regard. Moreover, children’s rights champions should make further impressive strides in improving children’s lives. Given this horrible situation when the fighting is still raging, peace is an issue of vital importance because merely in a peaceful environment, they would be better off. As peace negotiations between the US and the Taliban have been recently resumed, the parties should shun their all-or-nothing approach and agree to a truce, especially the Taliban.
Unluckily, Taliban has always been inflexible against persisting demand and good-will of Afghan government and people.  At least they should consent to the temporary truce to set the stage for a peace agreement, as well as show their goodwill with regard to bringing peace to the country. Meanwhile, the parties into conflict should pay serious attention to protecting children and shielding them from the collateral damage of conflict. They should sincerely make peace for the sake of children by regarding them the pillars of Afghanistan’s future and existence, as well as an overwhelmingly youthful population with treasures of energies and ambitions. Otherwise, with these generations of war-like mindsets being constantly imparted to children, Afghanistan would gradually fade into oblivion.
As an immediate solution, the attacks on children and civilian structures must be prevented, especially in conflict affected area which is already deprived of health and social facilities. Unfortunately, here will be no long term solution unless the ongoing war is ended through political agreements. In regard to their living conditions, it entirely depends on improvement of household economy, and the improvement household economy is related to the situation of the whole country. Malnourishment is the direct consequence of poverty caused by war and political instability in the country.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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