Kabul: Many children in war-torn Afghanistan yearn for peace but with the present situation in the country, it could remain a wish for many years to come.
"We are deprived of a happy childhood by the war and conflict. All that people pay attention to are politics and security. We need peace and stability," Farhad Hashimi, a 16-year-old circus performer, told Xinhua.
Hashimi is a member of the Afghan National Juggling Federation and is adept in juggling, tumbling and other acrobatic acts.
His group is performing in a five-day circus festival going on in Kabul this week.
"We want an immediate halt to fighting and violence. We do not want more children and women to be killed or hurt in the armed conflicts," Hashimi said.
In the first half of the year, 1,319 civilians were killed and 2,533 injured in violence in the country, according to a report issued in July by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
The number of casualties of Afghan women and children in the conflict has risen by 38 percent in the first half of the year, the UNAMA said.
Between Jan 1 and June 30 this year, 337 women and children have been killed and 770 wounded, it said.
The UN report attributed 74 percent of the civilian deaths to attacks by the Taliban and other armed groups opposing the government.
"I come from Bamyan to take part in the festival. Bamyan is a poor province. But it is the most peaceful province in Afghanistan. I want all provinces to be peaceful," said Zykria Afshar, another member of the juggling federation.
The ongoing insurgency has led to the closure of 530 schools, mostly in the southern and eastern region.
Trauma and fear of being attacked have prevented more than 500,000 children, particularly girls, from going to school.