Thursday, December 20, 2007

Child soldiers in Afghanistan

Another reason for not handing over people captured in the field to Afghan authorities. Children are being recruited by government forces, Afghan police and militias who support them, and private security companies. They are sexually abused, used for hard labour, or sent to fight.

The Taliban use children to fight or carry out suicide missions.

AFGHANISTAN: Child soldiers operating on several fronts

KANDAHAR, 19 December 2007 (IRIN) - Children are being recruited and in some cases sexually abused by the Afghan police and/or various militias that support the police, as well as by private security companies and the Taliban, according to human rights and provincial officials.

...Some children are recruited for military and non-military purposes by local militias who are paid by the government to supplement the fledgling ANP in volatile southern provinces. However, due to lack of proper monitoring and accountability mechanisms, and the informal nature of the auxiliary forces, the use and abuse of child soldiers remains undocumented.

"Children are used for different purposes," Noorzai said. "The majority of them experience sexual abuse, others do all kinds of jobs such as cooking, cleaning, day patrols and even fighting," he said.

...Under-age males have also been seen working for private security companies, particularly in Kandahar and Helmand provinces, said a senior government official who insisted on anonymity.

...Afghan officials also accuse the Taliban and other anti-government elements of deliberately using children for various military and illegitimate purposes. The Taliban use boys as foot soldiers and force children to engage in violent acts, they say.

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