Number of Child Casualties due to Conflict in Afghanistan Increased Sharply Last Year

July 3, 2014

NEW YORK (July 3, 2014) – According to the United Nations Secretary-General’s global report on Children and Armed Conflict released this week, in 2013 there was a 30 percent increase in the number of children killed or injured as a result of the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, compared to the previous year.

At least 545 children were killed and 1,149 injured in Afghanistan in 2013, resulting from actions by all parties to the conflict. The majority of deaths and injuries of children were caused by indiscriminate tactics, which include Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Unexploded Ordnances (UXOs) and landmines.

Schools and health facilities continued to be attacked by parties to the conflict or indirectly damaged in armed clashes. Approximately 115,000 children were affected by the temporary or permanent closure of 539 schools due to insecurity, with the largest number affected in the southern region. Over 60 teachers and healthcare personnel were killed or injured, abducted, or intimidated in 2013.

Recruitment and use of children by parties to the conflict as combatants and for other purposes also remains a major concern with at least 97 cases registered in 2013.

“We are deeply concerned about the significant increase in child casualties and the devastating impact that the conflict continues to have on children’s safety, health and education in Afghanistan,” says Akhil Iyer, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan. “UNICEF repeats its call on all parties to the conflict to ensure the protection of children in accordance with international humanitarian law and to refrain from all actions that adversely impact health, education and other crucial services.”

# # #

About UNICEF
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.

For additional information, please contact:

Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, smasur@unicefusa.org