Armed Groups

Afghan armed forces

Armed actors proliferating in Afghanistan – © ICRC

Present and previous periods of conflict have been responsible for the recruitment of child soldiers, most of which are armed forces. A number of armed groups were involved in insurgency including tribal factions, criminal networks and groups ideologically opposed to the government, including the Taleban and the Hizb-e Islami. Most armed groups had been responsible for the recruitment of child soldiers during the previous period of conflict.[1]

There were reports of both forcible and voluntary recruitment by the Taleban of children in southern provinces and parts of Pakistan.[2] Which included the use of children by the Taleban as messengers, couriers and fighters and at times human shields.

There was also a sharp rise in attacks on teachers, students and schools in the first half of 2006. Over 200 schools were burned, attacked or partially destroyed, at least 15 teachers killed and some 200,000 students affected by school closures. There were still many attacks on schools and threats to teachers and students in 2007.[4]

Parties in Afghanistan [5]

  1. Afghan National Police, including Afghan Local Police.a This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005). a
  2. Haqqani network ( a, b )
  3. Hezb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar ( a, b )
  4. Taliban forces, including the Tora Bora Front, the Jamat Sunat al-Dawa Salafia and the Latif Mansur Network (* a, b, d )

* The parties which are underlined have been in the annexes for at least five years and are therefore considered persistent perpetrators.
a) Parties that recruit and use children.
b) Parties that kill and maim children.
d) Parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals.

See Developments

[1] UNICEF, Rapid Assessment on the Situation of Child Soldiers in Afghanistan, July 2003, cited in Child Soldiers: Global Report 2004

[2] “Afghanistan: Civilians paying the price in Taliban conflict”, IRIN, 16 July 2007; “Recruiting Taleban ‘child soldiers’”, BBC News, 12 June 2007.

[3] UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Suicide Attacks in Afghanistan (2001–2007), September 2007,

[4] Report of the UN Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security, UN Doc. A/62/345-S2007/555, 21 September 2007.



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