21 July 2005 -- The United Nations said today that most of Afghanistan's estimated 8,000 child soldiers will have been demobilized and enrolled in education programs by the end of this year.
UNICEF spokesman Edward Carwardine said about 3,500 Afghan youngsters are expected to leave military units in the coming months.
Carwardine said the children will join the more than 4,000 already demobilized under the initiative launched early last year.
He said many have entered courses to learn marketable skills such as carpentry and mechanics.
A 2001-02 UN survey found there were approximately 8,000 child soldiers in Afghanistan, which is still emerging from decades of civil war.