PAN, May 31, 2011
Afghanistan remains dangerous for children: UN
"The conflict impacts on every aspect of children's lives."
UNICEF Representative Peter Crowley on Wednesday said Afghanistan continued to be plagued by conflict and remained one of the world's most dangerous places for children.
There is intensified fighting and increased suffering now at the start of the new "fighting season" in Afghanistan, with renewed hardship for children, Crowley said in a statement on International Children's Day (June 1).
RFE/RL, June 1, 2011: Students recite Koranic verses at an Islamic madrasah on May 10, near Abbottabad, Pakistan. A 15-year-old Afghan who was educated in a madrasah, or Islamic religious school, in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, he says he was encouraged there -- he does not say by whom -- to travel to Afghanistan's northern Konduz Province and participate in a suicide mission to blow up the local airport. (Photo: AFP)
He said: "The conflict impacts on every aspect of children's lives." Children and women were reported to have been killed after an airstrike in southern Helmand four days ago.
"Armed opposition groups are reportedly increasing efforts to recruit and use children as suicide bombers," the statement added.
On May 1, a 12-year-old boy conducted a suicide attack in southeastern Paktia province, resulting in four deaths. Less than a week ago, a school principal was killed just outside of Kabul, allegedly because he refused to bow to pressure from insurgents to stop teaching girls.
"These and other similar incidents are of profound and ongoing concern to UNICEF," he said, adding the losses that families and children were enduring in Afghanistan were making it more urgent than ever for all parties to the conflict to do everything possible to protect children during hostilities.
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