New York, 16 October 2012 – United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, expressed grave concern regarding reports that three children might have been among the casualties following an ISAF airstrike in southern Afghanistan. “This reminds us that Afghan children remain among the most vulnerable in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan”, said Ms. Zerrougui.

According to ISAF, Sunday’s airstrike was targeting Taliban insurgents in Helmand Province. However, two boys and one girl who were collecting firewood nearby were also allegedly killed. Although ISAF has been implementing in Afghanistan standard operating procedures that aim at better protecting children in the course of military operations, this is not the first incident that leads to child casualties. “We are awaiting the results of ISAF investigations on this incident. In the meantime, we reiterate that all efforts should be undertaken to ensure that children are protected in all military operations”, the Special representative added.