Afghan children watch a US-led soldier shooting at a target. (file photo)
The United Nation has expressed grave concern over the “unacceptable” and “very worrying” rise in child casualties as a result of the US-led war in Afghanistan.
On Thursday, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) issued a statement saying that at least 414 Afghan children were killed or wounded in the first four months of 2013 -- an increase of 27 percent compared to the same period in 2012.
According to the statement, of those 414, at least 121 children were killed and 293 were injured through April 30.
On Tuesday, Jan Kubis, the UN special envoy to Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), voiced concern over the rise in civilian casualties in war-torn Afghanistan from January 1 to June 6 this year.
He said the UN recorded 3,092 civilian casualties during the period, up 24 percent compared to the same period last year.
On June 6, at least three children were killed and seven others injured in an airstrike carried out by US-led forces in Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Kunar.
The US-led foreign forces have killed thousands of people, including many civilians, in airstrikes and night raids since they invaded the country in 2001.
Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry has repeatedly warned the US-led troops to stop airstrikes in residential areas.
Washington claims that its airstrikes target militants, but local sources say civilians have been the main victims of the attacks.
Civilian casualties caused by foreign forces have been a major source of tension between Kabul and Washington.
The US-led war in Afghanistan, which has caused record-high civilian and military casualties, has become the longest military conflict in the history of the United States.