Kabul, April 18 (IANS) Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani on Tuesday called for protecting girls from child marriage, noting that forced marriage affects physical health of young girls and robs them of their childhood.
"Child marriage is a depressing phenomenon for the young generation of Afghanistan and it is a national responsibility to stop the menace," Xinhua news agency quoted her as saying.
"I urge all Afghan families to avoid child marriage and forced marriage. Your girls face a huge risk when they get married at young age. Early marriage robs them of their childhood and future opportunities," Rula Ghani said at an event to mark the launch of "National Action Plan to Eliminate Early and Child Marriage".
She noted that getting married at an appropriate age reduces girls' risk for physical, sexual, psychological as well as economic abuse.
The plan of action outlines initiatives designed to prevent and end early and child marriage and strives to improve the implementation of laws and services which aim to support people at risk of early and child marriage.
Girls aged 15 to 19 who experience pregnancy and childbirth are twice as likely to die of related complications as women aged 20 to 24 years, according to Unicef.