Afghanistan rejects reports of child soldiers in army

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Kabul, Feb 20 (IANS) The Afghan government has dismissed reports of the presence of child soldiers in the security forces as baseless.

“No child exists with the rank of Afghan army,” the state-run Bakhtar News Agency on Saturday quoted Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh as saying in a meeting with Leila Zerrougui, the special envoy of UN Secretary-General on children and armed conflicts.

The report would be investigated to assure that no child was recruited in the security forces, he said.

However, Danesh said that unfortunately children were misused by the armed opposition groups and girls were deprived of education in conflict hit areas.

According to the media reports, the warring sides in Afghanistan, including the government, have been using children as soldiers in the conflict.

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Danesh said poverty has badly affected the children in Afghanistan and requested the international agencies to help the government in insuring the rights of children.

The UN Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict termed the government’s commitment as encouraging.

Zerrougui called on all parties to “respect international humanitarian law and to take all precautions to reduce the impact of conflict on children.”

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