The United Nations issued a report stating that the number of civilians killed or wounded in Afghanistan rose by 23 percent in the first six months of 2013, with women and children faring the worst — killed by roadside bombs almost every day. An earlier UN report noted that “Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child”. Over a third of Afghans are living in abject poverty, violence is escalating as NATO forces withdraw, and years of international aid has done little to decrease the abuse of women and children. These children, growing up in a country torn by warfare for decades, do their best to live normal lives — learning to cope with the dangers, finding time to play when they can, and learning lessons from the adults all around them. The selected photos above are part of The Atlantic’s ongoing series on Afghanistan.