How can a country that has gone through three decades of war and suffers rampant poverty, illiteracy, terrorism, and a booming illegal drug trade be a safe heaven for children? NATO’s top civilian in Afghanistan, Mark Sedwill, set off a firestorm this week when he said Afghan “children are probably safer in Kabul than they would be in London, or New York, or Glasgow, or many other cities.” Ambassador Sedwill’s comments came as Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) released its latest report (in Pashto) on conditions for children in the country. Based on a survey targeting 2,400 children throughout the country, the commission’s findings are enough to make one cringe. Researchers found a 20 percent increase in cases of sexual abuse against children in the first half of 2010. 13 percent of respondents had no access whatsoever to education and at least 30 percent do not have even cursory access to healthcare facilities. In addition, earlier this year, Afghanistan’s Ministry for Counter Narcotics reported that at least 60,000 Afghan youth suffer from some form of drug addiction.