After 23 years of war, Afghanistan is experiencing post-conflict
difficulties: infrastructure is inadequate, poverty is widespread and
state social protection is inexistent. Critical aspects of the social
welfare sector include:
Endemic family poverty resulting in nutrition
deficiencies, high rate of infant, child and maternal mortality.
High rate of youth
population: More than a half of the countryâ€™s population is less than 19
Low level of education:
of about 10 million school-age children, 4.2 million children attended
school in 2004.
High levels of family stress, erosion of family
support and safety nets due to harsh economic situation: a study carried
out by UNICEF in 2004 shows that placement of children in orphanages has
dramatically increased due to the erosion of community/family networks
and is used as a coping mechanism. Out of the 8,000 children living in
childrenâ€™s institutions throughout the country, 1/3 do not need
long-term care by residential institutions and could be returned to
their family or extended family with minimal support.
number of street and working children particularly in the capital and
large provincial cities. Studies suggest that there has been an increase
in the numbers in Kabul, from approx 40,000, to 60,000 in 10 years,
mainly due to the returning refugee population from neighbouring
countries and the unaffordable cost of living in the capital.
Widespread child abuse: More than half the number of
girls under 16 are forced into early marriages, physically abusive acts
are taking place every day and the sexual abuse of children is very
of low-level street violence: with the alarming development of drug
production and trade, children are more and more likely to be used as
drug-dealers and exposed to drug-addiction.
Increasing child kidnapping and abduction: In February 2004, the Afghan
Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) reported that human
trafficking particularly child kidnapping and abduction within, outside
and through the country were identified as one of the most serious
violations in recent months in Afghanistan. In the International
Organisation for Migrationsâ€™ report â€śTrafficking in Persons, An Analysis