Responding to the escalation of violence in Helmand province that has led to an estimated 35,000 people fleeing their homes, Save the Children’s Country Director in Afghanistan Chris Nyamandi said:
"It is deeply concerning that tens of thousands of people, many of them children, have been forced from their homes because of fighting. A humanitarian crisis must be avoided.
“Four decades of conflict in Afghanistan has had a devastating impact on the lives of children. Their education has been heavily disrupted and many have been maimed or killed by explosive weapons or attacks on schools and hospitals. This year, children have made up a third of all civilian casualties of the violence, and that is unacceptable.
“The mental scars can be felt as deeply, too. Depression and anxiety can stay with children for many years.
“It is vital that all parties to the fighting in Helmand respect the laws of war and do everything they can to protect the children and their families fleeing the violence. Fighting must not take place near or in schools so that they can remain safe places, free from violence.
“Longer-term, we urge all parties to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan so that children can grow up in a country free from conflict."
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