Photo: UNICEF Afghanistan

UNICEF: Children make up 85% of unexploded ordnance casualties in Afghanistan

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that Afghanistan is one of the most weapon-contaminated countries in the world, and children make up about 85% of the casualties.

In a post on X on Wednesday, UNICEF stated that in collaboration with the European Union, the organization teaches children to recognize and avoid unexploded ordinances.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported in July that at least 640 children were killed or injured in 541 incidents involving explosive remnants of war and landmine explosions in Afghanistan between January 2022 and June 2023.

The ICRC report said that nearly 60% of the total number of civilian casualties (1,092 people) was due to unexploded ordnance-related incidents.

“There is, however, still a desperate need for the international community to provide technical and financial assistance to reduce the number of human casualties caused by unexploded devices,” ICRC stressed.

The organization stated that since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, people’s lives have continued to be disrupted because efforts to clear the landmines and other unexploded weapons have not been entirely successful.

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and its subsequent restrictions on women and girls have also led many donor states and organizations to withdraw funding. ICRC has said that this funding shortfall has affected landmine clearance efforts in the country

“The dramatic drop in resources and funding had an equally dramatic impact on efforts to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance,” ICRC asserted.