Nearly 33,000 children have been killed or maimed in Afghanistan since 2005

According to Save the Children, the actual number of children killed in Afghanistan in the last two decades is likely to be much higher as the data does not include victims of starvation, disease and poverty

September 01, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Afghanistan children
(Photo: UNICEF Afghanistan)

As the two decade-long US-led NATO invasion of Afghanistan came to an end on Monday, August 31, Save the Children in a press release said that the war had led to the killing or maiming of at least 32,945 children in the country since 2005.   

It also stated that the real number of children killed in Afghanistan in the last two decades is likely to be much higher as this figure does not include those who died due to hunger, disease and poverty caused by the war and lack of governance. 

According to Save the Children, one child is killed or maimed every five hours in Afghanistan, and one out of every 16 children dies before reaching the age of five. 

The US-led forces used airpower indiscriminately against supposed terrorists in the country. However, often innocent civilians were killed in these airstrikes and bombings as houses and civilian areas and infrastructure were attacked. Indiscriminate attacks carried out by terrorist groups in civilian also caused thousands of deaths. According to various estimates, anywhere between 50,000 to 100,000 Afghan civilians were killed between 2001 and 2021. 

According to Save the Children, more than 4,301 Afghan children died in the last one-and-a-half years alone – between the beginning of 2020 and mid-2021. Out of these, 806 children died in violent incidents. 

On August 29, amidst the chaotic evacuation of foreigners from Kabul airport, US forces carried out a drone strike targeting a suspected ISIS-K terrorist near a residential building, which killed at least 10 people, including seven children. This was in retaliation to a terrorist bombing a couple of days before.

Hassan Noor, Asia regional director for Save the Children, said in a comment, “what remains after 20 years is a generation of children whose entire lives have been blighted by the misery and impact of war.”

The report says that nearly half of all Afghans are in need of humanitarian aid due to the war, drought, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 10 million children in the country are in need of some kind of humanitarian assistance, with half of the children under the age of five facing acute malnutrition this year. 

United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres also issued a call on Tuesday for immediate humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, saying that “now more than ever, Afghan children, women and men need the support and solidarity of the international community.”