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Afghan children follow coalition forces during a mentoring neighborhood patrol, Sept. 5, 2011, in Mehtar Lam, Laghman province. A report issued Monday, April 18, 2016, by the United Nations shows that Afghan children continue to lack access to necessary medical care and education.

Afghan children follow coalition forces during a mentoring neighborhood patrol, Sept. 5, 2011, in Mehtar Lam, Laghman province. A report issued Monday, April 18, 2016, by the United Nations shows that Afghan children continue to lack access to necessary medical care and education. (U.S. Department of Defense)

KABUL, Afghanistan — Violence and insecurity have made it increasingly difficult for Afghans, especially children, to access education and health care, the United Nations said Monday in a report.

Intimidation by all parties to the conflict continues to cause harm to health care workers and teachers, reduce the availability of medical aid, and limit children’s access to essential health and educational services, the U.N. said.

“The report’s findings are deeply troubling,” Nicholas Haysom, the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said in a statement. “It is simply unacceptable for teachers, doctors and nurses to be subjected to violence or threats, and for schools and medical facilities to be misused or attacked.”

The report, jointly produced by the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and UNICEF, covers the three-year period between Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2015.

Last year, 125 incidents affecting access to health care were documented, up from 59 in 2014. In those incidents, 20 health workers were killed 43 injured, and 66 abducted. The majority of the casualties occurred as a result of the U.S. airstrike on the Doctors without Borders Hospital in Kunduz on Oct. 3, 2015.

In addition, there were 132 conflict-related incidents affecting access to education and education-related personnel, the report said. Conflict-related violence resulted in the partial or complete closure of more than 369 Afghan schools in 2015, affecting more than 139,000 students and 600 teachers.

“Conflict-related violence not only puts Afghan children at risk of harm, but also limits their fundamental rights to education and health care,” UNAMA Human Rights Director Danielle Bell said in a statement. “Efforts must be redoubled to enable children — particularly girls — free and safe access to medical services and education.”

On Sunday, a separate U.N. report found a rise in civilian casualties in the first quarter of 2016 over the same period last year. Almost one-third of the casualties were children, the report said.

wellman.phillip@stripes.com Twitter: @PhillipWellman

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Phillip is a reporter and photographer for Stars and Stripes, based in Kaiserslautern, Germany. From 2016 to 2021, he covered the war in Afghanistan from Stripes’ Kabul bureau. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics.
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