Human Rights Watch has urged military sanctions against Afghanistan for what it says use of child soldiers in the country.
The rights group’s urge comes after U.S. published a new list of countries implicated in the use of child soldiers that excluded Afghanistan.
“The United States has paid hundreds of millions of dollars to support an Afghan militia that recruits and uses children to fight the Taliban,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Afghanistan should be on this list and subject to military sanctions.”
U.S. adopted a law in 2008 to prohibit giving categories of military training and assistance to countries that use persons of under 18 years of age in governmental armed forces or government-supported armed groups.
U.S. lawmakers have argued that the ALP falls in a gray zone between the Afghan armed forces and government-supported non-state militias and therefore are not covered by the law.
Rejecting the argument, Becker said: “There’s no gray area concerning children and the Afghan Local Police. Afghan government has failed to rein in the militia’s recruitment of children while the US turns a blind eye.”
Despite government’s pledge to tackle the problem of recruitment of children as soldiers, a growing number of minors are taken into fight.
The United Nations verified 48 boys recruited to fight last year, more than double the number for 2014.