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Statement by Catherine Mbengue, UNICEF Representative to Afghanistan, on the continued attacks on schools and schoolchildren in Afghanistan

KABUL, 10 JULY 2007- “On Monday, July 9, two rockets fired by militants struck a primary school in Kunar province, killing one child instantly and injuring three other children. That same night, a school was burnt in Ghore province. And today a suicide bomber hit a Uruzgan province marketplace filled with schoolchildren.

“We are saddened by these tragic events. UNICEF is concerned by these incidents and the intimidation in some communities aimed at stopping families from sending children to school. Schools of course are a visible sign of reconstruction and progress, and there are those who perhaps fear such progress. What I do know is that communities want to see their children get an education, they recognize the value of learning – and that is underlined by the millions of children who are now enrolled in schools.”

"UNICEF believes that the solution to these challenges has to come from the communities themselves; and UNICEF has been and continues to be in discussion with local leaders, village elders and religious leaders, to identify ways in which education can be continued. We stand ready to support any initiative that will keep children learning in safety."



UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Patrick McCormick, UNICEF Media New York, tel: 2123267426, pmccormick@unicef.org

Rafael Hermoso, UNICEF Media New York, tel: 212 326 7516, rhermoso@unicef.org




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