Living in a slum area in Kabul, 11-year-old Mohammad Omar said his father and mother lost their lives in a suicide bomb blast four years ago and since then he has been working on the street to earn a living.
by Abdul Haleem
KABUL, June 13 (Xinhua) -- The continued brutal war and extreme poverty in Afghanistan have forced countless children to resort to child labor and work on streets to earn livelihood for their families.
"I am busy in car washing from dawn to dusk and roughly earn some 150 afghani (1.9 U.S. dollar) daily to support my family," the working Mohammad Omar told Xinhua.
Omar, 11, is one of the thousands of Afghan children who lost their parents in the endemic war and has been forced to work on Kabul streets to earn livelihood for his five-member family.
Washing cars in Omid Sabz locality, a township in the western edge of Kabul city, Omar said the brutal war had devoured his parents and poverty had deprived him of going to school, forcing him to work for the survival of himself and his other family members.
Living in a slum area and recalling his bitter memories, Omar said his father and mother lost their lives in a suicide bomb blast four years ago and since then he has been working on the street to earn a living.
"The deaths of parents have shifted all responsibilities of the family to my shoulders and I, as the elder son of the family, had to take different jobs on the street, from shoe polishing to selling shopping bags and car washing," he said.
Echoing similar resentment, another boy Abdul Azim, 13, who was scavenging in garbage buckets on the outskirts of Kabul city, spoke softly that he collects usable items to sell them to recycling factories.
"I am the only bread earner of the family and have no choice but work and earn something," Azim told Xinhua on Friday.
"On average I can earn around 180 afghani (2.3 U.S. dollars) everyday and support my family," the bread earner of the six-member family said.
The protracted war and insurgency in Afghanistan have taken a toll on children as thousands of them have been forced to work on streets instead of going to school.
Civilians including children are bearing the brunt of war in Afghanistan. A report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released in mid April documented 1,783 civilian casualties (573 killed and 1,210 injured) in the first quarter of 2021 which indicates a 29 percent increase against the same period of last year.
The report also indicates a 37 percent increase in the number of women casualties while a 23 percent increase in child casualties compared with last year.
Although there is no official statistics on the number of child labor, the number of vulnerable children in Afghanistan, according to local media reports, has increased from 3 million to 5 million.