Continued war, poverty force Afghan kids to work on streets

The continued brutal war, insurgency and extreme poverty in Afghanistan have forced countless number of children to resort to child labour and work on streets to earn livelihood for their families, instead of going to school.

Civilians including children are bearing the brunt of war in Afghanistan. A UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report released in April documented 1,783 civilian casualties (573 killed and 1,210 injured) in the first quarter of 2021 which indicates a 29 per cent increase against the same period of last year, reports Xinhua news agency.

The report also indicated a 37 per cent increase in the number of women casualties while a 23 percent spike in child casualties compared to last year.

Although there is no official statistics on the number of child labour, the number of vulnerable children in Afghanistan, according to local media reports, has increased from 3 million to 5 million.

Omar, 11, is one of the thousands of Afghan children who lost their parents in the endemic war and has been forced to work on Kabul streets to earn a livelihood for his five-member family.

Washing cars in Omid Sabz locality, Omar said the ongoing war has deprived him of going to school.

“I am busy in car washing from dawn to dusk and roughly earn some 150 afghani ($1.9) daily to support my family,” he told Xinhua.

Another boy Abdul Azim, 13, who scavenges garbage buckets on the outskirts of Kabul city, told Xinhua that he was “the only bread earner of the family and have no choice but work and earn something”.

“On average I can earn around 180 afghani ($2.3) everyday and support my family.”

Ghulam Haider Jilani, the deputy for the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, said recently that the government would do its best to solve the problems of child labour in the country.

Jilani said the budget for children protection had increased from 20 million afghani last year to 52 million afghani this year.