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More than 400,000 Afghan children to drop out of school this year

The looming crisis is set to expose the children to child labour, exploitation, recruitment by militias and trafficking, the charity said. Photograph: (AFP)

Kabul, Afghanistan Mar 25, 2017, 03.49 AM (IST)

More than 400,000 children will drop out of school in Afghanistan this year as Pakistan's repatriation policy coupled with escalating violence is set to further wrack the education system in the war-scarred country.

Save the Children, a charity working for rights of children, put out the alarming data of nearly 1,110 Afghan dropping out of Afghan schools every day.

The projection came on a day when almost a third of 3.7 million children of the country did not turn up on the first day of school after the long winter break.

The report cited that growing influence of Taliban and Islamabad's decision to forcibly return Afghan refugees has exposed the children to child labour, exploitation, recruitment by militias and trafficking.

"Today should be a happy day in Afghanistan as children go back to class for the first time after a long winter. Instead it is a day cloaked in tragedy for the millions who can't access education and are struggling to survive," Ana Locsin, the non governmental organisation's Afghanistan director, said in a statement. 

The data is likely to exacerbate as the repatriation wave from Pakistan is set to grow bigger. In 2016, Pakistan forcibly returned 610,000 Afghan refugess and their target for this year is to repatriate a million of them.

Last year marked the deadliest year on record for Afghan children, with 923 killed as the conflict escalated across the country.


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