The Kabul Times.
Editorial

Targeting schoolchildren inhuman, barbaric act

A landmine explosion killed nine children in northeastern Afghanistan on Saturday. The blast happened in volatile Darqad district of Takhar province, when the children stepped on a mine that had been planted on a road by the Taliban militants. According to provincial spokesman of Takhar province, the nine schoolchildren were martyred in a landmine blast planted by the Taliban and children — all boys — were aged from seven to eleven.
Condemning the attack, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said targeting those seeking education were against Islamic and Prophet’s teachings. The president blamed Taliban for destructive activities int eh country and assassination of civilians in different provinces.
Last month, the United Nations released a report saying an “unprecedented” number of civilians were killed or wounded in Afghanistan from July to September this year. The figures — 1,174 deaths and 3,139 injured from July 1 until September 30 — represent a 42 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
The UN laid most of the blame at the feet of “anti-government elements” such as the Taliban, who have been carrying out an insurgency in Afghanistan for more than 18 years. In May, a landmine killed seven children and wounded two more in the southern province of Ghazni. A month earlier, seven children were killed and 10 more wounded in the eastern province of Laghman when a mortar shell exploded while they were playing with it.
Insecurity in Afghanistan has influenced different walks of life in different ways. Education has been one of the victims in this regard as many schools remain closed in the country because of prevailing insecurity. The country is already suffering from low level of education and the closure of schools and repeated targeting of schoolchildren may prove to be more detrimental in this regard. 
Taliban insurgents have bombarded the schools, shut them forcefully, targeted the teachers and students, attacked the students with acid particularly the female students, poisoned them and discouraged modern education in every possible manner. Even nowadays, in many parts of the country schools are being shut down because of lack of security and sufficient facilities. 
Afghanistan is one of the countries that are highly influenced by extremism and terrorism, aim to block all the ways to improvement and modernization. Blinded by religious extremism and outdated tribal values, the militants are always ready to oppose any sort of efforts that are devoted to spread education to the people of Afghanistan, as they know that the modern education that has been spread in the country to a certain level may encourage evolution and modern changes. 
It is important that the responsible institutions and authorities realize the worth and importance of modern education and must encourage all sides of conflict to give up violence against the education centers across the country.
Attacking schools and religious centers are against Islamic values and teachings and are indeed barbaric and inhuman acts. The holy religion of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) has always encouraged both men and women to seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.
Most of the Islamic nations have developed their education systems and brought about new modern terminologies to help tackle extremism and improve friendly education environment and provide equal opportunities as guided by the holy religion to everyone. They have even given sacrifices to prevent any kind of attacks against their children and future generations.
Therefore, it is essential for all sides of the conflict in the country to prevent any inhuman and barbaric attacks again schools, children and educational facilities. Continuing of such incidents would badly harm the future of the country, that has already been suffering from decades of war and bloodshed.

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The Kabul Times.