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World News for Schools: 22 December

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Hi there, I'm Ore From the BBC World News for Children, and as part of our week of special reports on the big stories of the year, we're heading to Afghanistan. It's nearly ten years since American and British forces entered the country to get rid of the Taliban. But nearly a decade later, the fighting is still going on, and thousands of soldiers and Afghans have died. In November this year, plans for foreign troops to leave Afghanistan were announced at a meeting of many world leaders, but that won't happen until 2014. So what's it like growing up in a war zone? Sonali's been to Afghanistan's capital, Kabul to find out....

CLIP: Street noise

Before arriving in Afghanistan, I have to admit I was feeling pretty nervous. You hear about explosions going off a lot, I had to carry a bullet proof vest, and knew I'd have to have a security guard looking after me. But though foreigners like me are bigger targets, the people most in danger are the Afghans. Even in the capital, Kabul which is one of the safest parts of the country, explosions can happen at any time and that can be very scary for kids there......

CLIP: "Because of explosions happening in the city it's frightening when we come to school. We are afraid of explosions at school." "When there are explosions I get sad because people are dying. But the next day when they're living a normal life and celebrating I get happy.

Even though many kids are worried about their safety, what struck me most about Kabul is that people just seem to be getting on with their lives.

CLIP: Street noise.

Millions of people who left the country when the violence was at its worst have now returned, and some girls have been able to go to school for the first time in Afghanistan - something that wasn't allowed under the Taliban.

CLIP: School noise.

These pupils I spoke to have big plans for the future.....

CLIP: "I'm a girl, but my family has a lot of ambitions for me. So, I want to serve for my country as a lawyer." "I want to be a journalist in the future. My country needs to reflect the truth."

This school looked really normal, but as I was leaving I noticed a sign showing all the different types of explosives that kids need to look out for, so they don't get hurt. Unexploded bombs are a huge problem in Afghanistan - lots of people, including children, have lost arms and legs because of them, and some like Mohammad's cousin have lost their lives.....

CLIP: "My cousin was playing football and when he went to the side of the football pitch he saw a mine. He thought it was a toy so he touched it and it exploded, and killed him.

Along with the danger of explosives, years of war in Afghanistan has kept the country really poor. One in five kids die before they reach 5 years old, and even though more children than ever before are going to school, lots like Sohrab and Faisel have to work, so they can help their families...

CLIP: "There are nine people in my family. I don't go to school. During the day I wash cars on the street." " My work is shoe polishing. I start at midday and work until seven. If I do not work we will die of starvation because no one is helping us."

But even though life is hard, Sohrab and Faisel have the same dreams as lots of kids around the world, and even with its problems, all the children I spoke to love their country and hope that one day it will be peaceful...........

CLIP: " I want to be a football player - I want to be as good as Rooney." "I want to stay here in Afghanistan and help build my country, to make other countries surprised.

That's Sonali reporting on her trip to Afghanistan. Tomorrow we'll be bringing you the last of our week of special reports on the stories that have shaped the world in 2010 - and here's a clue, we'll be talking about a certain footy tournament that only comes around every four years. Bye for now.




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