Above 200,000 Afghan kids work as ‘spies, drug sellers’

KABUL : Tens of thousands of Afghan children doing hard labor are involved in ‘spying’ and ‘drug smuggling’ activities, the National Workers’ Union of Afghanistan (NUWA) said on Wednesday.

There are some two million child laborers across the country and at least 11 percent of them, or about 200,000 children, have been engaged in spy activities and selling drugs, said Sawita Azimi, NUWA’s women chapter in-charge.

She told Pajhwok Afghan News on the sidelines a press conference here that figures from the International Labor Organization (ILO) showed currently more than two million children in Afghanistan worked as laborers.

She said most of these children worked as street vendors, miners and at brick kilns, but about 11 percent (more than 200,000) were either busy selling drugs or indulged in spy activities.

“A number of children are hired by mafia and terrorist groups. Such children work for terrorist groups against regular monthly stipends and these reports are confirmed by national and international organizations.”

Azimi, expressing concern at the current situation of children in the country, said children could be saved from mafia and terrorist group if vocational centers were established for them and work situation was improved.

Ghulam Ali Barya, who is deputy head of NUWA, said poverty pushed children into hard labor and that the government had failed to deliver on its repeated promises to control the situation. “If this situation continues, children will soon start using drugs or will be lured by the enemy.”

The Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled had recently said that currently eight million children were vulnerable in the country.

Of them 2.7 million children were laborers, 300,000 drug addicts, 60,000 orphans, and 190,000 disabled, the ministry had said, adding the rest also faced numerous issues. However, the labor ministry said strategies and policies were being executed to resolve problems the children faced. (Pajhwok)

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