Taliban recruiting Afghan children as suicide bombers

    By IANS,

    Kabul : In recent years, there had been a surge in the recruitment of minor children by the Taliban to carry out suicide bombings on foreign troops and government forces in Afghanistan.

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    Human right groups and government officials have accused Taliban of recruiting children as soldiers and encouraging them to launch suicide attacks against government security forces and foreign troops stationed in Afghanistan, Xinhua reported in a feature.

    “It was two years ago when a man gave me a heavy bag tied with wires and connected to a button. The man told me that whenever I see security forces around I should get closer and press the button,” Sami Ullah told Xinhua from a prison in Kandahar city in southern Afghanistan, the former stronghold of the Taliban.

    Sami was planning to carry out a suicide bombing on Afghan security forces in Kandahar when he was arrested, before he could press the button of the device.

    Sami, 16, said he was innocent and misled by the Taliban, adding that he did not understand what suicide attack means.

    “When I was arrested I was just 14 years old, it is now 23 months that I have been in prison. I hate the Taliban because they deceived me and I could have blown myself had I pressed the button of the device which at that time I did not know was a bomb,” Sami said.

    Gul Mohammad, 17, is another suicide bomber who was arrested in July last year in Kandahar City, 450 km south of Kabul.

    “When I was 15, my father sent me to a Madrassa (religious school) in Helmand province. But my Madrassa teachers decided to send me to a Pakistani Madrassa so that I could improve my education,” Muhammad said.

    Muhammad said that while at the Mawlavi Massoum seminary in Quetta city of Pakistan, the mullahs told him that Afghanistan has been occupied by the US.

    “They sent me back with a suicide jacket to Kandahar and ordered me to carry out a suicide attack. I was supposed to carry out the bombing. Fortunately, I was captured by security forces and now I’ m still alive,” Mohammad said.

    The Taliban, who ruled major parts of Afghanistan for more than six years until they were driven out by a US-led military invasion in late 2001, had staged a violent comeback in 2005 and since then has continued in staging deadly suicide attacks against Afghan and NATO-led security forces.

    Innocent civilians, including children and women, are among the victims of the Taliban’s suicide attacks.