UN: Afghan children used as child soldiers

2016-02-17 18:01
Leila Zerrougui. (AFP)

Leila Zerrougui. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kabul - The United Nations on Wednesday condemned all sides in Afghanistan's conflict for using child soldiers, noting that while government forces have reduced the number of under-age recruits, insurgent groups continue to train large numbers of fighters under the age of 18.

The Afghan government had made progress on the issue, said Leila Zerrougui, special representative of the UN Secretary General for children and armed conflict. However, she added that Afghan Local Police - who often operate independently from central oversight and have been widely criticised as unprofessional and corrupt - are major perpetrators of child recruitment among Afghan forces.

Insurgent groups recruited more children in areas where the fighting is fiercest, she said. The Taliban, who have been fighting the government for over 15 years, mainly recruit children in provinces bordering Pakistan, she added.

The border with Pakistan is long and porous, and Pakistan's government has been accused of protecting and supporting Taliban fighters while using the group to fight a proxy war.

The Pakistani authorities have denied connections with the insurgent group, and have levelled similar accusations at Afghanistan's government.

Zerrougui spoke to reporters a day after the New York-based Human Rights Watch released a report accusing Taliban forces of boosting the number of children in their ranks since the middle of last year, in violation of international laws against the use of child soldiers.

The report said insurgents "have been training and deploying children for various military operations" in Afghanistan, including making and deploying bombs.

It found that children between the ages of 13 and 17 were given military training in madrassas, or religious schools

The use of child soldiers is illegal in Afghanistan, which ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994, committing the country to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

Read more on:    taliban  |  pakistan  |  afghanistan  |  war

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.