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The youngest victims in Afghanistan

By Wang Huazhong (China Daily)

13:05, January 03, 2012

Two homeless street children in Kabul. (Photo: China Daily)

It was an early morning in August, 5:50 am to be precise, not the time for children to have fun. But youngsters bold enough to risk it had climbed onto the roofs of their mud houses that dot the hills in Kabul. They were looking at a giant, black cloud rising from the ground not far away. Five minutes ago, a car bomb had exploded and sporadic gunshots ripped through the quiet morning, the thick plumes of smoke now spreading a black shadow over the city. Welcome to Kabul! A day ago, on the same roofs, the children were flying kites and smiling into China Daily reporters' cameras.

But a day seems like ages, especially to children.

According to its first-ever survey on the mortality rate, issued by Afghanistan's Ministry of Public Health in November, one in every 10 children in the country dies before reaching its fifth birthday.

The survey says about half of the deaths of children below 5 years are caused by respiratory infections or infectious or parasitic diseases.

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