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Afghanistan turmoil

Afghan children risk death smuggling across border with Pakistan

Under Taliban rule, hundreds of minors traffic goods each day for families' sake

Afghan children scramble onto a truck heading to Pakistan at the Torkham border crossing on Jan. 23. (Photo by Kanika Gupta)

KABUL -- The Torkham border crossing is a busy hub of trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan, on a direct route between the two countries' capitals. Every day, young Afghan children try to smuggle bags of goods over the frontier, hiking through mountains or hiding in the undercarriages of trucks.

The bags, known as gandey, contain cigarettes, computer supplies and toiletries, among other things that are brought in and out between the two countries. Traders often employ small children to do the actual trading, and make handsome profits through evading customs duties.

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