Press Office

Thursday 27 Nov 2014

Press Release

Children probably safer in Kabul than London, New York or Glasgow, NATO's top civilian representative in Afghanistan tells CBBC Newsround

In an interview to be aired on CBBC Newsround today NATO's top civilian representative in Afghanistan says that children are probably safer in Kabul than London, New York or Glasgow.

During the filming of a Newsround two-part special exploring the lives of children living in Afghanistan, presenter Sonali Shah heard from a number of young people living in Kabul who felt unsafe on the streets because of the risk of bombs.

When this was put to NATO's Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, Mark Sedwill, he said: "Here and in Kabul and the other big cities [in Afghanistan] actually there are very few of those bombs. The children are probably safer here than they would be in London, New York or Glasgow or many other cities. Most children can go about their lives in safety. It's a very family orientated society. So it is a little bit like a city of villages."

Sohrad, a 16-year-old student spoke of his fears of his school journey: "Because of explosions happening in the city it is frightening when we come to school. We are afraid of explosions in the school."

Manija an 11-year-old girl also from Kabul says: "When there are explosions I get sad because people are dying but the next day when they are living a normal life and celebrating I get happy."

Newsround also asked why NATO's International Security Assistance Force had not won the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Ambassador Sedwill says: "Well, because it's not like a fight on a battlefield, it's not like the Second World War or other wars that people are familiar with where you fight on the battlefield because the Taliban can't fight that way. So what they do is, they hide among the people. We are not going to leave Afghanistan. We are not going to leave Kabul until we are absolutely sure the Taliban can't return."

Kids And Conflict is a special three-week season of programmes on CBBC that sets out to examine, through drama and documentary, how children are affected by war. The season explores life for those left behind in the UK when a parent goes to fight abroad and discovers what it is like to grow up in war-torn Afghanistan.

The first of the programmes Growing Up In A War Zone: A Newsround Special will broadcast on CBBC on Monday 22 November at 6.15pm.

It shows how Afghan children's lives are affected by war. The presence of foreign troops has brought some benefits like foreign investment and lots of new charities. But while foreign troops are the targets of attacks, Afghans, including children, can be victims – and often don't have any protection.

Newsround visits a Kabul girls school, which under Taliban rules was closed, but now educates over 3,000 pupils; a Red Cross hospital set up to treat the victims of landmines in the city; and "Skateistan", Afghanistan's first ever skatepark.

The programme also shows how the makers of the Muppet Show are keeping children away from deadly explosives.

Programme 1 – Growing Up In A War Zone: A Newsround Special will broadcast on CBBC on Monday 22 November at 6.15pm. Repeated on BBC One Thursday 25 November at 5pm.

Programme 2 – The Children Of Kabul : A Newsround Special will broadcast on CBBC on Monday 29 November at 6.15pm. Repeated on BBC One Thursday 2 December at 5pm.

Notes to Editors

Newsround is television's only daily current affairs programme specifically made for young people. It has been dedicated to bringing children the news for over 37 years, making the important issues of the day relevant and easily understandable.

Presented live by Ore Oduba and Sonali Shah, Newsround now has its very own news bureau in Manchester. The show covers all the latest news from the nations and regions, to uniquely deliver world-class journalism exclusively for children and young people across the UK.

Previous Newsround specials, which have covered difficult subjects in an accessible and helpful way, include reports on internet safety, alcohol, bullying and bereavement.

As well as delivering up-to-the-minute news, Newsround's website also encourages children to share their own views and engage in debates by joining chats on the message boards, voting on the issues that matter to them, testing their wits in a choice of quizzes and watching the amazing press pack reports made by other Newsround viewers.

PH

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