KABUL- The Afghanistan parliament approved a draft law to ban the recruitment of child soldiers in the security agencies of the country.

The endorsement of the draft law by Afghan lawmakers comes as numerous national and international organizations criticized the Afghan government over recruitment of child soldiers. The draft law was sent to the Afghan parliament by the ministry of justice of Afghanistan around two weeks ago. Consisting of seven articles, the law was endorsed by the majority during the general session after review by parliamentary commissions.

The law strictly prohibits the recruitment of children in security agencies, with one to seven years of imprisonment on violation. The Afghan Government reconfirmed its commitment with the endorsement of a ‘Road Map Towards Compliance,’ in August this year which laid down 15 measures to fully implement an Action Plan signed with the United Nations in 2011.

The road map was supported by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in their roles as co-chairs of the UN-led Country Task Force on Children and Armed Conflict. This comes as the Afghan National Police (ANP) has been listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict since 2010, with an additional reference to the Afghan Local Police (ALP) since 2012, according to UN mission in Afghanistan – UNAMA. Afghanistan is one of seven countries whose national security forces are listed by the Secretary-General for recruitment and use of children.