The Haqqani Network, Hizb-i Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP), and Taliban forces and affiliated groups are each listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s (SG) latest report (S/2021/437) on children and armed conflict (CAAC) for recruitment and use and killing and maiming of children. Of these, Taliban forces and affiliated groups are additionally listed for attacks on schools and hospitals and abductions, and ISIL-KP is also listed for attacks on schools and hospitals. In March, UNAMA’s mandate is up for renewal, pursuant to SCR 2596 (2021). From January to November 2021, children made up 29 percent (2,150 children) of all civilian casualties in Afghanistan, most occurring prior to August 15, when military operations between the Taliban and Afghan national security forces ceased. After August 15, children comprised nearly all civilian casualties from explosive remnants of war (ERW) and were disproportionately harmed during improvised explosive device (IED) attacks. The SG’s January report on Afghanistan (S/2022/64) highlights acute concerns over children’s heightened vulnerability to exploitation and abuse due to the economic crisis, including child labor, early marriage, and recruitment and use. Since August 15, the UN has received reports of children still in the ranks of the de facto authorities, as well as attempted child recruitment and use by ISIL-KP. The Security Council should:

  • Renew UNAMA’s child protection mandate, ensuring continuation of all its functions related to child protection, including monitoring and reporting on grave violations, as well as engagement with parties to undertake specific commitments and measures to end and prevent violations and abuses against children; allocate sufficient resources to allow UNAMA to fully and safely deliver on this mandate;
  • Call for perpetrators of all grave violations against children to be held accountable;
  • Urge all parties to avoid the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas (EWIPA); and allocate resources to the UN Country Team to protect civilians, including children, from the threats posed by landmines, ERW, and IEDs, including mine clearance and risk education, particularly near and along routes to and from schools and educational facilities;
  • Urge all parties to immediately cease recruiting and using children, to release those within their ranks, and to treat children allegedly associated with armed forces and armed groups primarily as victims, prioritizing their reintegration in line with international juvenile justice standards; detention of children should only be used as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate time;
  • Call on the de facto authorities to abide by Afghanistan’s international commitments to child protection, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child’s (CRC) definition of any person under the age of 18 as a child and its Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the Paris Principles and Commitments, the Safe Schools Declaration, and international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (IHRL), as appropriate;
  • Make every effort to ensure counterterrorism measures and sanctions regimes do not impede humanitarian action.

Norway is the lead country on Afghanistan.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – March 2022.


UN Action

Year listed: 2003
Action Plans signed: Afghan National Police (including the Afghan Local Police) – recruitment and use of children and sexual violence against children (January 2011)
Sanctions Committee: 1988 Sanctions Committee and 1267 ISIL and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee (Current Chair: Indonesia)
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Afghanistan: 2021; 2019; 2015; 20112008
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Afghanistan: 2020; 2016; 20112009
UN Mission: UNAMA

Perpetrators listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict

2001 2002 2003 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Afghan National Police (including Afghan Local Police)~* a a a a a a a a
Factions associated with the former Northern Alliance a
Factions in the south of Afghanistan a
Factional fighting groups a
Haqqani network* a a,b a,b a,b a,b a,b a,b a,b
Hezb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar* a,b,c a,b a,b a,b a,b a,b a,b
Hezb-i-Islami a
Jama’at al-Da’wah ila al-Qur’an wal-Sunnah* a a a,b,d a,b,d a,b,d a,b,d a,b,d,e a,b,d,e
Taliban forces/remnants of the Taliban* a a, b, d a,b,d,f a a,b a,b,d a,b,d a,b,d a,b,d a,b,d,e a,b,d,e
Tora Bora Front* a a a,b,d a,b,d a,b,d a,b,d a,b,d,e a,b,d,e
Latif Mansur Network* a a,b,d a,b,d a,b,d a,b,d a,b,d,e a,b,d,e
ISIL – Khorasan Province a,b

a: Parties that recruit and use children
b: Parties that kill and maim children
c: Parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children

d: Parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals
e: Parties that engage in abduction of children
f: Parties that deny humanitarian access to children

~ This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).
* This party has been in the annexes for at least five years and is therefore considered a persistent perpetrator.