Child Alert - Afghanistan - Martin Bell Reports on Children Caught in War UNICEF

UNICEF photo: Aqila cares for her sister, Bamyan Province.

© UNICEF/HQ07-1221/Noorani

Aqila cares for her sister, Bamyan Province.

UNICEF’s report, 'Child Alert: Afghanistan', is based on reporting from UNICEF UK Ambassador Martin Bell’s July 2007 trip to that war-torn country, where children are increasingly not only caught in the crossfire but are also the intended targets of violence. Children are victims of attacks on schools, clinics and roadside bombs, have been forcibly recruited by militants and have even been used as suicide bombers – a phenomenon virtually unheard of in Afghanistan three years ago.

The war claims their homes, their family members – even their lives. The violence has closed many schools and forced parents to choose between their children’s safety or illiteracy. And while Afghanistan has made some progress in health care – particularly in the fight against polio – some 60 children under five die every day. Maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world, claiming 50 women daily.

Afghanistan’s children are more vulnerable now than at any other time during the war. More schools are closing, more children are being killed and more families are stranded without access to aid. It is, Mr. Bell reports, a make-or-break time.

» Download UNICEF's new report, 'Child Alert: Afghanistan' (PDF)
» Read the press release