Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, April 18th, 2021

The Unhighlighted Dimensions of Children’s Problems in Afghanistan

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The Unhighlighted Dimensions of Children’s  Problems in Afghanistan

In recent days and weeks several methodic reports were released about children challenges in Afghanistan. The reports usually concentrate on effects of problems, not causes, with few superficial recommendations. For example, one of these reports revealed as many as 2,019 children have been killed or injured in the conflict only in 2020 showing at least 16 percent increase compared to 2019. Unlike these trends, let’s highlight the causes of problem and the unhighlighted dimension of problem in the country.
Let’s ask why there is 16% rise in violence against children while 2020 was deemed as a year of peace and reconciliation for the people of Afghanistan? Let’s ask why Afghan children are more present in the trenches and in the battlefield instead of attending schools and school classrooms? And why 3.7 million eligible students dropped out of school last year while a large number of them are vulnerable to be misused by terrorist groups. Let’s ask is there any other solutions to decline the rising problems? Undoubtedly, this article does not claim something new but want to say that only focusing on the effect of problems will not lead to solutions.In response to these questions, it is said that a  large number of people are under poverty line and the families cannot afford to send their children to schools and educational centers, and then either they are compelled to work as street workers or joined the so-called religious seminaries inside and outside the country.
Unfortunately, some of these religious seminaries, instead of teaching ethics, civility, science and knowledge, they have been changed to brain-wash centers or radicals producing centers.
Given the changes in political systems of world countries, the historical and cultural positions of religious seminaries have been largely politicized.
In fact, the cultural and scientific position of seminaries degraded to terrorism and radicalism centers. 
In last two decades, the seminaries which located in our neighborhood, they have been repeatedly blamed for acting as terrorist training centers or brains washing centers but no serious measures have been taken yet. If Afghanistan does not want to be the center of conflicts anymore, it needs to take serious measures against these brain washing centers. At least, we should prevent our children going to those centers.
Given that 99% Afghans are Muslim, we need to revive the cultural and scientific positions of seminaries inside the country or else the cycle of violence may not be ended this easy.
Today there seems no metropolis in Islamic world to monopolize everything in few certain countries. Undoubtedly, if other Muslim countries are interested to contribute this program, they are most welcome but through the government channels inside the soil of Afghanistan. We must learn lessons from the past that the political opportunists are trying to exploit children to reach their national interests.
We should also note that children are not only used as tools against Afghan people but also blacken they face of Islam and Muslim throughout the world. Because these inhuman games and dreadful deeds, Muslims are humiliated throughout the world.
Therefore, the scholars and Muslim world should stand against these inhuman deeds and games.
In response to second mentioned question that why some countries  exploit innocent children to reach such inhuman goals, because using children and seminaries are the most inexpensive tools that can be used to secure their interests. It is true that terrorists and fundamentalists are categorized as irrational actors, but the political strategists behind these trends and programs are very rational actors. Whenever their interests are truly pressurized by the world, they will desist from supporting terrorists because they will calculatedly choose a right way. Therefore, the efforts of governments and international allies against terrorism will not lead to a conclusion unless they targets the root of problems or the main center of terrorism with close coordination with Islamic world and Islamic scholars.
The next factor which intensifies the risk of children in Afghanistan is high birth rate.
Even, we have forgotten that we live in a limited world with limited economic capabilities but produce unlimited children and then not able to feed and educate in the country. Unfortunately, this issue is not taken serious in Afghanistan. Many of the families cannot afford to take care of one or two children but they give birth to eight or ten children.
Therefore, Afghanistan is on the highest birth rate in the world with roughly 40 births/1,000 populations while it is around 8 births 1,000 populations in Eburnean countries. The birth rate not only pressurizes families to tolerate a hard life but also stress government in providing jobs and blocking the development process in the country. If the government fails to slow the process of rapid population growth, it will face serious problem such as being unable to provide education, employments, maternal, infant health and etc.
Given the aforementioned points, the children high birth rate and children brain washing centers are considered as an Unhighlighted dimensions of children’s problems in Afghanistan.
To cope with challenges, the national policy makers, religious scholars and media can play major roles in dispelling wrong concepts of high birthrate and also divulging terrorist trap in the seminaries. This will not be feasible unless we create a close coordination between security forces and religious scholars and similarly, religious scholars and health experts. The people of Afghanistan usually make their decisions in consultation with religious scholars while most of them are inexpert and unable to give right advices. For example, If one hundred times a health experts advise people to observe three to five year spaces between each birth because multiple pregnancy affect health of the mother and newborn baby they will not be convinced but if a religious scholars say it is on contrary to Islamic teaching they will carefully act upon.
Same is the case with security issues.
Therefore, the health experts and security officials need to work in close coordination with religious scholars in Afghanistan.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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