By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) - The suffering of children in Afghanistan continues, as both the government forces and opposition armed group have used and recruited children in their ranks, said a new report released by the UN chief’s office.
The report covering four years from Jan. 1, 2015, said that it verified 14,000 "grave violations" impacting the children of Afghanistan.
“More than 12,500 children have been verified killed or maimed between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2018, mostly from ground engagement, non-suicide Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), airstrikes and suicide and complex attacks,” the report said.
It added that the four years have been “particularly devastating for boys and girls”, with children accounting for almost a third of all civilian casualties.
“Armed groups were responsible for 43% of the child casualties, but attributions to government and pro-government forces remain of significant concern,” said Virginia Gamba, special representative of the UN secretary-general for Children and Armed Conflict.
Besides, the report said that armed groups -- including Taliban and Daesh -- and afghan government forces have recruited and use the children.
"The recruitment and use of children continued with 274 children verified, mainly by armed groups including the Taliban and ISIL-KP," said the statement, referring Daesh terror group's Afghanistan chapter.
It went on to say that the security forces in the country "were also responsible for the recruitment and use of children, however, significant progress was made to end and prevent recruitment and use by Afghan security forces throughout the years."
“Children in Afghanistan have known nothing but heartbreaking realities as a result of violence and war. The number of child casualties is appalling, and I urge all parties to immediately put an end to the suffering of children […],” Gamba said.
The report said that children are detained on alleged national security charges for their alleged or actual association with armed groups. “It persisted throughout the reporting period,” it added.
The report also said that 17 cases of sexual violence against children were verified but the UN team “but the violation remains highly underreported for fear of stigma and impunity”.
“Attacks on schools and hospitals remained of great concern during the reporting period with 832 attacks verified, mostly by armed groups,” it said.
The report mentioned that the children were continued to be abducted and the UN team could verify a total of 231 cases during the same period.
The raging Afghan conflict is in its 18th year, with thousands of lives lost and millions forced to flee their homes. The UN repeatedly calls for urgent need to seize opportunities for peace in the region.