Save the Children releases ‘devastating’ figures, calls for urgent international support to save vulnerable people
ANKARA (AA) – Almost 33,000 children have been killed and maimed in Afghanistan over the past 20 years, an average of one child every five hours, Save the Children said on Tuesday as the last of international military forces left the war-torn country.
New data released by the international advocacy group said at least one child was “either killed or maimed every five hours in the past 20 years in Afghanistan.”
The last foreign forces left Afghanistan on Monday night, ending 20 long years of occupation and war in the country. The US-led foreign forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001.
“The numbers were a devastating insight into the deadly cost of war on children,” said the group.
It said the real number of direct child casualties of the conflict will likely be much higher than the estimated 32,945 as “this number does not include children who have died due to hunger, poverty, and disease in that time.”
Call for urgent support
The group said that nearly half of Afghanistan’s population — including nearly 10 million children — are in need of humanitarian assistance as drought, a third wave of COVID-19, and conflict plunge the country deeper into crisis.
“Half of all children aged under five were expected to suffer from acute malnutrition this year,” it warned.
Hassan Noor, the group’s Asia regional director, said in a late-night statement on Monday: “As the last military planes fly out of Kabul today it is a sad truth that, along with the planes, the international coverage, attention, and support Afghanistan has received over the past few weeks are also likely to depart. But while the rest of world moves on, millions of Afghan children will go to bed tonight hungry, grieving and unsure of what their futures hold.”
“What remains after 20 years is a generation of children whose entire lives have been blighted by the misery and impact of war. The magnitude of human suffering of the past two decades is beyond comprehension,” he said.
The Save the Children official called for “urgent support to the children of Afghanistan.”
“With food, clean water, shelter, with education — if this doesn’t happen, the efforts of the last 20 years will truly have been in vain,” he added.
“Children and their families in Afghanistan are facing a drought, COVID-19 and a harsh winter — there is no time to wait.”