afghanistan – Afghanistan


29.9 million (15.8 million under 18)

Government Armed forces


Optional Protocol


Other treaties     



The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/66/782-S/2012/261) issued on 26 April 2012.

According to the report issued in April 2012, there were 316 cases of underage recruitment in 2011 which  were reported in Afghanistan. The majority was attributed to armed groups particularly the Taliban forces, including the Tora Bora Front, the Jamat Sunat al-Dawa Salafia and the Latif Mansur Network, as well as the Haqqani network and the Hezb-e-Islami. Children were recruited and used by armed groups to conduct suicide attacks and plant improvised explosive devices, as well as for transporting goods. In 2011, 11 children, including one 8-year-old girl, were killed while conducting suicide attacks.[1] Explosive packages were given to children without their knowledge. At least 20 reports of cross-border recruitment of Afghan children to Pakistan by armed groups, including the Taliban, were received. The boys were reportedly taken to Pakistan for training, and returned to Afghanistan to conduct military operations.

UN photo – Afghan child soldier

Reports have shown children under the age of 18 in the armed forces. These children have been used as suicide bombers by anti-government elements including the Taleban. There has been both forceful and voluntary recruitment by the Taleban of children in the southern provinces and parts of Pakistan.

In October 2004, presidential elections were held and Hamid Karzai was declared president. National Assembly elections were held in September 2005. Early in 2006 the Afghan government and the international community committed themselves to the Afghanistan Compact, a strategic framework for the rebuilding of Afghanistan. Close to 50,000 international troops remained in Afghanistan: 39,500 under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and nearly 10,000 under the US-led coalition forces.[2] The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) continued to provide support to the government including on the peace process, the implementation of the Afghanistan Compact, and human rights.

In 2006 and 2007, there was a significant increase in suicide attacks  which were reported to have been carried out by anti-government elements, including al-Qaeda, the Taleban and Hizb-e Islami. A study by UNAMA concluded that the bombers “appear to be young (sometimes children), poor, uneducated, easily influenced by recruiters and drawn heavily from madrasas (Islamic religious schools) across the border in Pakistan”[3]

 See Armed Groups and Developments

[2] 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

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


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