Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, February 25th, 2021

Why Afghanistan Persist to be the Worst Place for Children?

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Why Afghanistan Persist to be the Worst Place for Children?

Unluckily, it seems that Afghanistan is not going to lose the position of the worst place for children to be born in the world. After relative improvement in past years, once again they have increasingly faced with critical conditions simultaneously with rise of war, violence and poverty. Few days ago, Save the Children which is a creditable international org has released a fresh methodic report indicating that over 18 million people in Afghanistan, including 9.7 million children, desperately need life-saving support. Earlier similar reports were released by UN and Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commissions (AIHRC) which overall reflect the same points confirming that almost half of the country s population needs to some form of support while the children, disabled and women are more vulnerable against the challenges.  From one hand, the number of widows, orphans, poor and disabled people are increasing due to rise of war, violence, covid-19 disease and addictions ; on the other hand, the level of international aid and attentions are decreasing .
As pointed out, the intensification war and violence is one of the major factors behind the worsening situation of children in the country. With killing thousands of people and caretaker of children, a large number of them became fully helpless as there is no public program or fiscal capacity to support all orphans in the country. Based on the latest UN figures, nearly 6,000 people, a third of them children, were killed or injured between January and September last year. Although the independent organizations usually blame all warring sides for the children causalities, the local officials usually attribute it to Taliban but ISIS seems more responsible for the children s casualties in Afghanistan. The ISIS overtly takes the responsibility of attacking on children, children educational centers and children health centers. They repeatedly launched attacks on west of Kabul educational centers and also health centers where killed a number of new born babies that could be named as an example. However, the borderline between ISIS and other terrorist groups are not yet so clear. The important point is that the war and violence will continue to fuel humanitarian needs in the country threatening people s wellbeing and access to essential services like hospitals and clinics as well as humanitarian support .
In addition to other implications of the war and violence, it will also impose physical and psychological consequences. the physical side effects of the war and violence will be disabilities, mental retardation of children and overall weak society, but the psychological side effects of the war and poverty will be a bleak picture of their historical period with various types of psychological sickness as no day they wake up without hearing news of war, violence and bloodshed in the country. Therefore, the international community and humanitarian orgs must support the government of Afghanistan to ensure rule of law, establishment of peace and stoppage of civilian causalities. If the international orgs do not continue to help secure an enduring peace settlement, the future generations and children of Afghanistan will also grow amidst war and violence .
The next factor which worsens the condition of children and women is chronic poverty and unemployment in Afghanistan. Indisputably, when men who are the breadwinner of the family are unemployed and unable to earn the necessary expenses for their families, it s obvious that women and their children cannot enjoy healthy eating. Then, instead of going to schools, they go to streets to earn a living while a number of families prefer to decrease the number of family or number of food eaters through sending them to those seminaries that freely provide them food and shelter. This way, a large number of children are trained and brainwashed outside the country and then come back with dangerous mentality to continue the cycle of war and violence. Despite this, there seems no measures about preventions of such children from misuses . Definitely, we cannot put an end to extremism unless we do not stop sending our children to extremist educational centers situated in neighboring countries .
The other problem which played role in worsening the condition of children in Afghanistan is the issue of covid-19. Although it is a global phenomenon affecting everyone in the world, the weak countries such Afghanistan has faced with deeper implications. In fact, the issue of covid-19 combined with aforementioned factors has farther worsened the condition of already poverty stricken people and children in the country.  After emergence of covid-19, millions of Afghan people became jobless due to downfall of private companies inside country and also so rise of unemployment in the labor market of neighboring countries. Before this, a large number of Afghans went to the labor market of neighboring countries such as Iran but with increase of covid-19 and worsening condition of Iranian economy due to the sanction, a huge number of people remained home and jobless as a consequence .
In general, the ongoing war and violence have not only deprived the innocent children from secure life but also used them as tool against security and advancement of the country. As an immediate solution, the minuses of children and the attacks on children, civilians and civilian structures must be prevented using national and international mechanisms. We can use the International mechanisms to compel all parties of the conflicts to pay serious attention to protecting children and shielding them from the collateral damage of conflict. In longer term, the death rates of children cannot be analyzed separated from the security, political and economic factors.  It means the improvement of the living conditions of children and security of children depends entirely on success of peace process. The children causalities and children issues are the direct or indirect consequence of political instability and also weak economy.Now, if we are not able to solve these problems strategically , we must not forget the urgent advocacies. The government and humanitarian orgs can take measures to relieve the critical condition of children with seeking urgent help from international community .

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

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