Statement by Dr. Mohamed Ag Ayoya, Representative, UNICEF Afghanistan, on the death of four children due to the detonation of an explosive remnant of war

20 March 2022

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - “UNICEF is deeply saddened by the killing of four children, all boys, in the Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, when an explosive remnant of war (ERW) detonated. According to media reports, the children were playing with mortar shells which subsequently exploded. 

“UNICEF expresses its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the victims.

“This brings the total verified number of children killed and injured to 294 by explosive remnants of war and landmines in the last 7 months alone. The real figure is thought to be much higher.

“Yesterday’s incident is a stark reminder to the international community and the de facto authorities that they must do all they can to clear explosive ordnance and other remnants of war. Equally important, is the need to educate children and their communities about the risks and the preventive measures to take.

“Due to decades of conflict, Afghanistan is one of the most mine-contaminated countries in the world. Unfortunately, due to children’s natural curiosity and the pressure many are under to collect scrap metal and contribute to their families’ household incomes, children are most affected by explosive remnants of war. Children in Afghanistan must be afforded the freedom to play and move at will without the fear of detonating deadly devices.

“UNICEF urges all relevant parties in Afghanistan to step up their efforts to clear areas contaminated by weapons and protect children at all times.”

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