Sofia, an Afghan student, takes notes during an online class, at her house in Kabul Sofia, an Afghan student, takes notes during an online class, at her house in Kabul 

Afghanistan: Eight children killed by unexploded devices

As children around the world continue to die from approaching unexploded devices, Afghanistan loses eight in just a single week, whilst women and girls continue to suffer the inequality of being kept out of education.

By Francesca Merlo

As the situation in Afghanistan continues to worse, UNICEF has announced the death of eight children in the past week due to playing with unexploded ordnance while collecting scrap metals to sell.

Unexploded ordinance has a devastating impact on children in Afghanistan.

In 2022, more than 700 children were killed or maimed by unexploded ordinance and remnants of war. An average of two children die each day.

In the statement, UNICEF writes that the organization is stepping up mine risk information activities to train children, workers and communities. "We are also providing psychosocial support to families and affected children," said the UN's children's agency.

Whislt all children are affected by devastating wars raging across the world, in most of Afghanistan, young women and girl are still barred from attending secondary school - the only country to take such action. 

One-and-a-half years since have passed since the decision, and any hopes which women and girls, and those who support them, might have had of schools being reopened have been dented by the increasing restrictions the Taliban government has imposed on women.

The Taliban has said that schools and universities are only temporarily closed to women and girls until a "suitable environment" can be created.

Divisions within the Taliban government have emerged regarding the issue, but so far any efforts by those who believe girls should be allowed to study have yielded no results.

The first restriction following the secondary school ban came in December 2021, when the Taliban ordered that women would have to be accompanied by a male relative if travelling more than 72km (48 miles).

In March 2022, the Taliban government announced that secondary schools would reopen for girls, only to close them within hours.

Less than two months later, a decree was passed that women would have to wear clothing that covered them from head to toe, including a face veil.

In November, women and girls were barred from parks, gyms and swimming pools. Girls were no longer allowed to choose subjects such as economics, engineering and journalism at university.

A month later, a massive blow was delivered when universities were closed to female students, and women were banned from working in domestic and international NGOs except those in the health sector.

Regarding some of the other restrictions, the Taliban says they were imposed because women were not wearing a hijab (head covering) or following Islamic laws. Enforcement of the Taliban's rules isn't uniform across provinces, but the regulations create an environment of fear and confusion.

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27 March 2023, 14:43