Pakistan’s traumatized war children play soldiers and Taliban

For IRIN News, with Fakhar Kakakhel:

PESHAWAR, 16 June 2014 (IRIN) – More than 60,000 people have fled North Waziristan Agency to safer parts of Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan as Pakistan’s military launches an offensive in the region. Most of the people fleeing are children, and mental health experts are concerned that they will not have access to proper trauma care.

The Pakistani authorities have yet to set up camps to shelter the displaced, and what little mental health aid is available – usually at makeshift clinics in formal IDP camps – is out of reach for the North Waziristan children.
Psychiatrists treating residents of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in the northwest are especially worried about the long-term effects of conflict on the children there. In regions like North Waziristan Agency and Khyber Agency, children have been living with armed conflict for nearly a decade. They have witnessed military operations, Taliban attacks and drone strikes, and the results of these. Many children have grown up knowing only war, and the long-term effects of what they are experiencing worries mental health professionals.

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