Nearly a third of all children in war-torn Afghanistan are unable to attend school, leaving them at increased risk of child labor, recruitment by armed groups, early marriage and other forms of exploitation, an aid group said Thursday.
Save the Children said more than 400,000 Afghan children are expected to drop out of school this year due to growing instability and the forcible return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan, adding to the 3.7 million already out of school.
More than 600,000 Afghans returned from Pakistan in 2016 and around one million more are expected in 2017 after the tightening of regulations by authorities there.
Save the Children said that over half of all returnee children do not attend school, often working on the streets because their parents cannot find jobs.
Afghanistan has been mired in a growing economic crisis as the Taliban have expanded their reach. Economic aid has meanwhile dwindled alongside the Western military drawdown in recent years.