26,000 child casualties between 2005 and 2019 in Afghanistan

KABUL/GENEVA: The conflicts in Afghanistan have killed and wounded 26,025 children between 2005 to 2019, Britain-based charity Save the Children said in a report released on Monday. In 2019 alone 874 children were killed and 2,275 others were wounded in Afghanistan – a number that consists of 30 per cent of the total killed or maimed children in conflict-hit zones across the world, the group said.
These children, according to the report, were killed and wounded as a result of the direct conflicts between pro- and anti-government forces. Earlier a report by the UN mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said that in the first nine months of this year a total of 5,939 civilians were killed and wounded – 31 per cent of whom were children.  In the meantime, a 2019 analysis by Save the Children shows that Afghanistan was the deadliest place for children among 11 countries that were considered as the most dangerous places for children.
Meanwhile, UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi urged ahead of a donors conference starting on Monday that the international community must continue aiding Afghanistan or face the risk of “disastrous consequences” .
Grandi’s appeal also comes after his visit to the Asian nation that is struggling with growing violence, a US pullout and flagging peace talks.
Grandi said the future of millions of Afghans depends on the outcome of peace negotiations and on the international community’s commitment to develop the country, including at the two-day donors conference in Geneva.
“Failure on either account would see Afghanistan slide backwards with disastrous consequences, including further displacement possibly on a large scale,” Grandi warned in a statement.
He said the nearly 300,000 Afghans who have been displaced inside the country because of conflict this year remain in “acute need” of humanitarian support.
The same goes for the nearly three million previously displaced and the nine million people who have lost their livelihoods due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Grandi also said it was urgent to conclude peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which are fighting to topple it and retake the power they lost during the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
The peace talks are flagging and a withdrawal of some of the US forces that the Trump administration announced this week are further weakening the Kabul government.

TALIBAN RIGGING DRONES
The Taliban have deployed small drones to drop bombs on government forces in some recent attacks, Afghanistan’s spy chief said on Monday, illustrating a new fighting method used by the insurgents. Ahmad Zia Shiraj, who heads the National Directorate of Security (NDS), said Taliban fighters were using hobby drones and rigging them with explosives. — DPA/AFP