According to the U.S. State Department, Afghan government forces – including the Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan National Police (ANP), Afghan Local Police (ALP), and National Directorate of Security (NDS) – as well as pro-government militias that receive support from the Afghan government have allegedly recruited and used children in both combat and non-combat roles. In 2020, the U.S. State Department verified at least five cases of child soldier recruitment – three by the ANP, one by the ALP, and one by a pro-government militia. Child soldier use and recruitment has continued even as the Afghan government has undertaken broader child protection efforts, including the formation of a National Child Protection Committee to address bacha bazi, a practice involving the sexual abuse of young boys; hiring additional social workers; and increasing the number of Child Protection Units at ANP recruitment centers. The Afghan government has never prosecuted a police or military official for the use or recruitment of child soldiers.
For more information, see the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report and Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. More information on the situation in Afghanistan can also be found in the U.N. Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict’s annual report and country-specific report on Afghanistan.