9 children killed or wounded in Afghanistan every day: UN

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Ten members of the same family, including three children, were killed Tuesday when their car detonated a roadside bomb as they were traveling to a funeral in eastern Afghanistan, officials said, as the U.N. released statistics saying an average of nine children have been killed or wounded per day in the country this year.

The family members had been driving in Khost province in a large station wagon-type vehicle when the blast occurred, according to local and national officials. Khost is southeast of Kabul and borders Pakistan.

“The casualties include five men, two women and three children all from one family,” Talib Mangal, a spokesman for Khost’s governor, told AFP. “They were traveling to Logar province to attend a funeral.”

Provincial police spokesman Adil Haidar confirmed the toll and incident details, while interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi added it was a Taliban roadside bomb.

The Taliban did not immediately comment.

Meanwhile, the U.N. International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) said in a report on Tuesday that, on average, nine children have been killed or wounded per day in the first nine months of the year.

This marks an 11% increase in children’s causalities compared to the same period of last year due to an increase in suicide bombings and ground engagements, UNICEF said.

According to the U.N.’s Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), at least 631 children were killed and 1,830 others were wounded in the first nine months of this year.

“Even by Afghanistan’s grim standards, 2019 has been particularly deadly for children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

From 2009 to 2018, close to 6,500 children were killed and some 15,000 others were wounded as a result of the ongoing conflict, making Afghanistan the deadliest war zone worldwide in 2018, based on the report.

Apart from the consequences of violence, children in Afghanistan were also suffering from natural disasters, poverty and underdevelopment. According to UNICEF, 600,000 children under the age of five are severely malnourished. Another 3.7 million school-aged children are out of school. Almost a third of children are engaged in child labor.

Deadly violence continues to grip Afghanistan even as the U.S. and the Taliban negotiate on-off talks aimed at reducing America’s military footprint in the country in return for the insurgents ensuring an improved security situation.

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