US Foreign Policy
Data Tool
CSPA Implementation Tracker

Country Profiles

Monitoring U.S. government efforts to leverage arms sales and military assistance to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers
Part of the Child Soldiers Project

Afghanistan

Country Profile
Years Listed

Each shaded box corresponds to a year the country appeared on the CSPA list and what types of waivers it received, if any.

Afghanistan appeared on the CSPA list in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Although government forces in Afghanistan – including the Afghan Local Police and the Afghan National Police – have recruited and used child soldiers for decades, the country did not appear on the CSPA list until a 2019 amendment expanded the scope of national security forces covered by the law. In both 2019 and 2020, the U.S. president fully waived CSPA prohibitions against the provision of U.S. arms sales and military assistance to Afghanistan, providing more than $200.9 million in Direct Commercial Sales and over $1.3 million in International Military Education and Training over the two years. Afghanistan did not receive a waiver in 2021, resulting in the prohibition of $800,000 in International Military Education and Training in FY2022.

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. Between April 2020 and March 2021, government or government-affiliated armed groups reportedly recruited and used at least 24 children – five by the ALP, four by the ANA, seven by pro-government armed groups, and an additional eight jointly recruited and used by the ALP and pro-government armed groups.

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. An international organization reported that the Afghan government made notable progress in combatting the recruitment and use of child soldiers through the use of these CPUs despite some NGOs reporting that they were not sufficiently equipped, staffed, or trained. Between April 2020 and March 2021, the Afghan government reported that it prevented the recruitment of more than 5,000 children into government defense and security forces and identified 20 children in its military and referred them to child protection centers. During the same period, the government prosecuted and convicted members of the security services for bacha bazi. While the Afghan government investigated some claims of child soldier recruitment or use by military or police officials, these investigations had not resulted in any prosecutions as of March 2021.

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’s annual report on Children and Armed Conflict and country-specific report on Afghanistan.

Total Waived and Prohibited

Since the CSPA took effect.

Afghanistan CSPA Country Profile

Explore the Data

Country- and program-level data on the number and type of national interest waivers granted, as well as the amount of arms sales and military assistance waived.

Amounts and Waivers by Program

Amount Waived and Prohibited by Fiscal Year & Program

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