The Challenges of Afghan Children in the Present and in the Past
10 October 2021
Cecilia Polizzi, Founding President/CEO at CRTG Working Group
Giulia de Santis, Research Fellow at Rise to Peace
As the Taliban rose to prominence during the Afghan Civil War in the 90s and ruled over the majority of the Afghan territory until the U.S. invasion in 2001, children in both Afghanistan and neighboring countries have increasingly become a target of this UN-designated terrorist organization. While the group has long denied the recruitment and use of children, in the years following the 9/11 attacks and the initiation of the so-called Global War on Terror, the Taliban more heavily relied on forced recruitment of children for the purposes of exploitation in combat operations and suicide bombings. The situation of children and youth in Afghanistan has remained highly critical in the past several decades, marked by endemic violence, lack of access to basic resources, education and human rights. As the country was labeled the “worst place to be born in the world”, the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the declining political and security environment heighten the risk for children and young people to become victims of abuse, human trafficking and exploitation into terrorist ranks.