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Last Updated: Monday November 22 2010 16:53 GMT

Afghanistan: Sonali's journey

Sonali in Afghanistan

Newsround has been covering stories about Afghanistan for almost 10 years, a country thousands of miles away which has been devastated by war.

But what's it like to be an Afghan child growing up in a country at war?

Sonali's been to find out.


"The only place safe enough for us to film in without the military is the capital city, Kabul. Compared to other parts of Afghanistan, it's relatively peaceful and that's brought huge changes to the lives of people living there - especially girls.

Sonali in Afghanistan

I went to Maryam High School in Kabul. When the Taliban were in charge, it had to be shut down because they didn't like girls going to class or women being teachers.

But now, around 3,000 girls go there every day to learn in two hour sessions.

Not all girls in Kabul get the chance to go to school. But it was great talking to pupils who have big plans for their futures.

Unexploded mines

As I was leaving, I noticed a whole wall of mine awareness posters. Thirty years of war means there are unexploded mines and rockets all over the country.

Even in Kabul, which is mostly mine-free now, kids have to know what they might look like, just in case.

The bigger security threat to children growing up in Kabul comes from suicide attacks.

Not a safe place to be

The Taliban think international troops have no right to be in Afghanistan and will do anything they can to try and get rid of them.

Sonali in Afghanistan

Most of the violence is directed at foreigners like me, but nine out of ten people killed or injured in suicide attacks are Afghans because they aren't as protected.

For many children I spoke to, Kabul is a scary place to live.

Everywhere I went, I saw how the war has shaped the lives of Afghan kids.

More freedom?

Watching three boys making a kite on one of Kabul's hills, I noticed the string they were using was actually old military trip wire.

The work of international troops had given those boys more freedom. Under the Taliban, flying a kite would have been against the law. But the war isn't over yet.

Foreign leaders do plan to hand security control over to the Afghans in the next few years.

The future

Without international security forces, it wouldn't be safe for foreign charity workers that try to make the lives of Afghan children better to live and work in Afghanistan.

The most high-tech armies in the world have been fighting the Taliban for almost 10 years.

But peace still seems a long way off, which means it's probably going to be some time before kids in Afghanistan will feel safe in their own country."

Sonali