Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Taliban forces in Afghanistan have added scores of children to their ranks since mid-2015 in violation of the international prohibition on the use of child soldiers.
The rights group’s research shows that the Taliban have been training and deploying children for various military operations, including the production and planting of improvised explosive devices (IED).
In a report released on Wednesday, HRW writes that in Kundoz province, the Taliban have increasingly used madrasas, or Islamic religious schools, to provide military training to children between the ages of 13 and 17, many of whom have been deployed in combat.
“The Taliban’s apparent strategy to throw increasing numbers of children into battle is as cynical and cruel as it is unlawful,” said Patricia Gossman, senior Afghanistan researcher. “Afghan children should be at school and at home with their parents, not exploited as cannon fodder for the Taliban insurgency.”