At least 27 children have been killed in Afghanistan in three days amid fierce fighting between the Taliban and government forces, the UN has said. The UN children’s agency UNICEF said it was shocked by the “rapid escalation of grave violations against children”.
The deaths and injuries were reported in Kandahar, Khost and Pakria provinces as the Taliban ramped up an offensive against Afghan government forces across the country. The Taliban have been making major advances across the country as foreign troops withdraw, taking six regional capitals since Friday. They have rejected international calls for a ceasefire. On Monday, local government officials said an Afghan radio station manager in Kabul was killed and a journalist was kidnapped in southern Helmand province, local government officials said, blaming the Taliban. Gunmen shot Toofan Omar, the station manager of Paktia Ghag radio and an officer for NAI, a rights group supporting independent media in Afghanistan, in a targeted killing in the capital on Sunday. More than 1,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the conflict in the past month. In a statement on Monday, Unicef said the atrocities being committed against children were growing “higher by the day”. The 27 fatalities were recorded across three provinces – Kandahar, Khost, and Paktia. Some 136 children were also injured in these areas over the past three days, Unicef said.