The present report, which has been prepared pursuant to Security Council resolution 1612 (2005), is presented to the Council and its Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict as the first country report on the situation of children and armed conflict in Afghanistan. The report covers the period from 1 July 2007 to 15 August 2008.
The report focuses on grave violations perpetrated against children in Afghanistan and identifies parties to the conflict, both State and non-State actors, who commit grave abuses against children. In particular, the report highlights the fact that children have been recruited and utilized by State and non-State armed groups and that non-State armed groups such as the Taliban continue to train and use children as suicide bombers. The report sheds light on the detention of children accused of association with armed groups by the Government of Afghanistan, and international military forces in violation of Afghan law and international best practice. The report also discusses the worrisome increase in the number of children victims of attacks against schools and communities by non-State armed groups, including the ever increasing number of children inadvertently killed during engagements by international and Afghan forces. Finally, the report surveys the need for greater attention to the problem of sexual violence against children, in particular against boys, in the context of the ongoing armed conflict in Afghanistan.
The report acknowledges the significant challenges in addressing child rights violations in Afghanistan and outlines a series of recommendations to end the recruitment and use of children as well as other grave violations of children's rights. It recommends that all parties to the conflict facilitate access to their areas of operation and ensure the safety of staff for monitoring and reporting purposes. It asks the United Nations, in consultation with the Government of Afghanistan and international forces, to investigate ways and means of extending monitoring and reporting to hitherto inaccessible conflict areas of Afghanistan.