UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Afghanistan signed an agreement with the United Nations Sunday to stop the recruitment of minors into security forces and to fight other abuses of children.
The pact was signed at the United Nations Sunday by Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul and Radhika Coomaraswamy, the world body's special representative on children and armed conflict, U.N. News said.
"Today we come together to undertake a big step for a better future for the children of Afghanistan," Rassoul said at the signing which also included Staffan de Mistura, head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.
U.N. News said the agreement comes after the Afghan National Police was cited last April in a secretary-general's report on recruitment and use of children into its ranks. Since then the Afghan government set up an inter-ministerial steering committee on the issue and later worked with a U.N. task force to develop the latest agreement.
The agreement calls for various actions by the government, including the strengthening of birth registration and age-verification mechanisms, investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of under-age recruitment and sexual violence.
"Today's signing of the action plan to halt the use and recruitment of children into the Afghan national security forces and to address other child rights violations is an important first step to end such practices," Coomaraswamy said.
A New York Times report said officials have conceded the problem of child sex slaves and recruitment of underage boys into police and military forces results party from the efforts of Afghanistan's international supporters to speed the expansion of the country's security forces.