Security forces have arrested 12 insurgents in Wardooj district in Badakhshan, seven of whom are allegedly “child soldiers”, local officials said on Sunday.
In footage sent to TOLOnews, which was reportedly taken two weeks ago when Wardooj fell to the Taliban, at least three of the detained fighters appear to be below the legal age of 18.
Officials have not however given any details regarding the alleged child soldiers or of their ages.
However, the acting governor of Badakhshan Shah Waliullah Adib confirmed that the use of child soldiers in Badakhshan is a common practice by insurgents. He said there are many child soldiers in their ranks but he was not able to give exact figures.
Security forces have however since retaken control of Wardooj where at least 23 insurgents were reportedly killed after security forces launched a clearing operation. In addition, 32 security force members were also killed in the battle.
Badakhshan has long been the scene of fierce fighting by insurgents and Wardooj and Baharak districts have fallen a few times to the Taliban.
“The collapse of Wardooj district also resulted in the collapse of Baharak district to the Taliban,” Badakhshan MP Zakaria Sawda said, calling for government to pay serious attention to the security situation of the north-eastern province.
This comes after a number of Afghan and international human rights organizations accused the Taliban of having committed war crimes in Kunduz – which the group over ran for 72 hours after a massive and well-planned attack late last month.
Also, the use of children as “soldiers” is globally denounced and is considered a war crime.