The situation of children in Afghanistan after the return to power of the Taliban


In Afghanistan half a million people are displaced in the country and over 18,000 people need humanitarian assistence; half of them are children. The drought that has been affecting the country on the top of the Talibans domination over the territory raises concerns about a drastic worsening of the situation. In the last couple of weeks the war fought in Afghanistan has entered an even more lethal and destructive phase than the previous one and the images of parents pushing their children over the barbed wire, entrusting them to soldiers at Kabul airport, have become the symbol of it.

According to the report “Preserving Hope in Afghanistan: Protecting children in the world’s most lethal conflict” issued by UNICEF in December 2019:

  • 3,8 millions of children need humanitarian assistence,
  • 1 in 3 girls marries before turning 18,
  • 3,7 millions of school-age children are out of the education system
  • 600,000 children under the age of 5 anni suffer from acute malnutrition,
  • 30% of children are involved in child labour,
  • 400,000 young Afghans enter the labor market every year largely without the necessary professional skills

In a country like this, the recent and tragic development of the conflict can only arouse tremendous anguish.

UNICEF has expressed its concern about the rapid increase in serious violations against children's rights and about the indefinite number of children who have been - and still are - recruited by armed groups in the conflict. The already precarious humanitarian situation has now worsened due to a triple crisis: the development of the conflict, the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recurring droughts. UNICEF estimates that, unless urgent action is taken, nearly 2 million children will need humanitarian assistance for water and sanitation by the end of the year, while more than 1 million children under five will suffer from acute malnutrition. Moreover, due to the closure of schools due to the pandemic and the conflict, over 9.5 million children have been denied the right to education. Finally, it must be remembered that, in 2021 alone, 500 children died in the clashes between the government forces and the Talibans and 1,500 were injured.

The drama in which millions of children are subjected to live has different forms. In Panshir, where the Resistance fought to the end of its strength - and in fact, according to some sources, it is still fighting - long before the Taliban took Kabul, roughly 7 out of 10 pregnant women would have chosen not to go to the hospital to give birth or carry out the necessary medical check-ups. As expected, the consequences were disastrous, with an exponential increase in complications and, unfortunately, in maternal deaths. The repression exercised by the Taliban against women and their rights has affected the rights- already rarely respected - of girls and young women. For example, in the aftermath of the Talibans' return to power, girls went back to school in Herat, covering themselves with the traditional Islamic veil: the hijab. Sadly this happens in a country where, long before the return to power of the Taliban, girls represented 60% of the child population excluded from the school system and, the most affected by the discrimination, as much as 85%.

Translated by Valeria Pasquali

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  • L'Autore

    Rebecca Scaglia

    Studentessa di Giurisprudenza al terzo anno, aspirante avvocato. Interessata alla tutela e difesa dei diritti della persona umana. Pienamente convinta che ognuno di noi abbia un grande potere, ossia di saper fare la differenza.

    Third year law student, aspiring lawyer. Interesed in protection of human rights. Fully convinced that everyone has a strong power, which is to know how to make the difference.



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