Who: Innocent Afghan kids.
What: According to the figures gathered by an Afghan rights watchdog, about 739 children lost their lives in the terror operations in Afghanistan last year. The Afghanistan Rights Monitor (ARM) compiled a report that catalogues the death of 2,421 civilians, of which almost one-third were under the age of 18.
Where: According to the ARM report, children died in attacks not only in southern Afghanistan including Kandahar and Helmand but also in northern Afghanistan flash points like Kunduz and Kunar.
When: The rights group monitored the casualties from 1 January to 31 December 2010. The issue was released on Wednesday, 9 February.
Why: The majority of the victims are boys but at least 105 underage girls also lost their lives. Girls usually stay at home in this conservative central Asian state and it could be the reason for the gender disparity among the child victims. The report reveals Taliban as well as other armed insurgents have drafted child soldiers in their ranks. ARM also accuses US commander-in-chief in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, of hiring and arming local militias for short-term counterinsurgency purposes while ignoring human rights violations and long-term stability risks.
How: The report cites numerous incidents where children lost their lives in insurgent attacks or Allied operations. It specifically mentions the deaths of at least 13 children during the massive NATO military operation in Marjah and Nad-e-Ali districts of Helmand in February 2010. Separately, it reports an incident where six children were killed and four were wounded in an insurgent mortar attack in Aliabad district in Kunduz Province on 19 September. ARM holds Afghan insurgents responsible for almost two thirds of the child deaths while blaming US and NATO-led forces for 17 percent.