Armed Taliban security personnel parade on a Humvee convoy as they celebrate the second anniversary of their takeover near the US embassy in Kabul on August 15, 2023. Afghanistan's Taliban government marked on August 15 the second anniversary of their takeover of the country with celebrations and a public holiday, issuing a defiant statement commemorating their surge back to power. LEHTIKUVA / AFP


In a somber revelation, Afghanistan finds itself grappling with a two-fold crisis: an alarming number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and a distressing prevalence of explosive remnants of war that disproportionately affect children. As reported by TOLO News, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has declared Afghanistan one of the most weapons-contaminated countries globally, with a staggering 85 percent of explosion and unexploded mine victims being children.

Using the 'X' social media platform, UNICEF highlighted the gravity of the situation, stating, "Afghanistan is one of the most weapons-contaminated countries in the world, and children represent about 85% of casualties. With EU in Afghanistan, UNICEF teaches children to recognize and avoid unexploded ordnance, using practice settings like this at a child-friendly space."

The scars of past conflicts continue to haunt Afghanistan, with unexploded mines continuing to claim lives across the country. Amanullah, who suffered life-changing injuries in an explosion, recounted a harrowing experience, saying, "We climbed a mountain to bring weeds, and we found the bomb and brought it down to sell it, the seller said I don’t want to buy it. As soon as we were entering the house it exploded."

While the Afghan Directorate for Mine Action Coordination (DMAC) puts the percentage of child victims at 65 percent, Noorddin Rustam Khil, head of DMAC, challenged UNICEF's figure of 85 percent. The contradiction in data adds complexity to an already dire situation.

Simultaneously, Afghanistan is dealing with an overwhelming number of internally displaced people. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report, Afghanistan is now home to a staggering 6.55 million IDPs, positioning it as the second-largest country for internal displacement, following Syria. Over 4.39 million people are displaced due to conflicts and violence, while 2.16 million are uprooted by disasters.

The stories of those affected by displacement paint a bleak picture of lives torn apart. Malik Khan, an internally displaced individual, lamented the lack of assistance, saying, "Our main issue is that there is no assistance for internally displaced people, and in the last two years, the only assistance we have received has been 50 kg of oil and 5 kg of peas."

The Afghan population faces displacement due to a multitude of reasons, including poverty, insecurity, and conflicts. While some IDPs have called on the Taliban and aid organizations for help, the daunting challenge remains.

As Afghanistan battles these dual crises, it underscores the pressing need for international attention and support to alleviate the suffering of its people.


WorldCon 75, Scott Lynch; photo by Jana Blomqvist


WorldCon 75, Robin Hobb; photo by Jana Blomqvist


Based on an interview by Alisa Nirman on 3.10.2016