Afghanistan bans toy guns to curb culture of violence

Kabul: Afghanistan banned the sale of imitation Kalashnikovs and other toy guns today after they caused injuries to more than 100 people during Eid celebrations, as it seeks to curb a culture of violence.

Children toting toy guns that fire rubber or plastic pellets are a common sight in the country during Eid al-Fitr, with sales surging every year amid festivities marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

More than 100 children and teenagers suffered eye injuries during three days of celebrations that ended on Sunday, the interior ministry said citing health officials.

“Interior Minister Noor-ul Haq Uloomi has ordered police forces to confiscate all toy guns… Which can lead to physical and psychological damage among people,” a ministry statement said.

The government wants to reduce the influence of such toys on impressionable young minds, with many around Afghanistan drawing a connection between juvenile war games and adult violence.

‘Eidi’, the pocket money elders traditionally give to children during Eid, are widely splurged on toys such as imitation AK 47s, fake revolver pistols and plastic rifles.

The ban, which if rigorously enforced would impact the booming toy business in the country, was widely welcomed on social media, with some calling for extending the crackdown to include sales of real weapons in the war-torn country.

“This is a positive step that will stop children from taking up real arms when they grow up,” Abdul Shaheed wrote on Facebook.

“Militancy and war has promoted a brutal culture of violence in our society that is impacting children.