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Increasing number of Afghan children caught in crossfire – UN official

Increasing number of Afghan children caught in crossfire – UN official

Special Representative Radhika Coomaraswamy
Concerned about the increasing number of children killed in Afghanistan, the United Nations envoy for children and armed conflict today urged all sides to take the necessary steps to protect the country’s young people amid the worsening security situation.

“Children are caught in the crossfire and the number of victims is escalating,” stated Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

Anti-Government forces killed 11 children during a suicide attack against members of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on 15 June in Uruzgan province. In addition, they have been targeting schools, including the 12 June attack outside a girls’ school near Kabul that left two students dead and several injured.

“The anti-Government forces are also suspected of using children as human shields,” added Ms. Coomaraswamy.

She also expressed concern over reports that international coalition forces accidentally killed seven Afghan children in an air strike in Paktika province.

Yesterday, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, Chris Alexander, denounced the recent wave of terrorism in Afghanistan, citing in particular the devastation wrought by the attack on schoolchildren.

“Those responsible for these attacks – those who have killed hundreds of Afghan civilians this year in cold blood – are committing brutal crimes. These are crimes against the holy religion of Islam; they are crimes against humanity,” he said.