Briefing on the situation of the recruitment and use of children by armed forces and insurgent group

The Afghan National Police (ANP), including the Afghan Local Police (ALP), and three armed groups (Haqqani network, Hezb-e-Islami ofGulbuddin Hekmatyar and Taliban forces, including the Tora Bora Front, the Jamat Sunat al-Dawa Salafia and the Latif Mansur network) are listed as persistent perpetrators in the Annual Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on children and armed conflict for recruitment and use of children.

Commendable progress has been demonstrated by the Afghanistan government in implementing its “Road Map towards Compliance” following the endorsement on 24 July 2014 of a 15-point targeted plan aimed at expediting the implementation of the 2011 Action Plan to end underage recruitment and use. UNICEF led a countrywide assessment of the Afghan National Security Forces’ (ANSF) age verification practices and procedures to identify gaps and inconsistencies. The outcomes of the workshop included draft guidelines on age assessment, which are waiting for an endorsement by the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee on children and armed conflict. An awareness campaign using broadcast media has helped disseminate information on the risks of recruitment among vulnerable communities in the north affected by recent fighting. A national birth registration strategy endorsed by the Ministry of Interior with support from UNICEF in September 2014 is afoot to strengthen protection against underage recruitment.

However, field research conducted by Child Soldiers International in Afghanistan in May 2015 shows that despite this progress in implementing the road map, serious concerns remain.

In this briefing, Child Soldiers International makes recommendations to the UN Security Council Working Group, which, after four years, is considering the issue of child soldiers in Afghanistan.

Download this briefing here.