|5-Year-Old Afghan Children|
Daily Mail—Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan are bribing starving children as young as eight years old to plant deadly roadside booby traps, be decoys in ambushes and even act as suicide bombers.
Despite the Islamic fundamentalists’ claim they have no children in their ranks, extremists have been actively recruiting orphaned and homeless young boys and training them to use guns, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and suicide vests.
In return, they ply the desperate youngsters with sweets and chocolate, an investigation for Channel 4’s Dispatches programme has learned.
Afghan orphan Neaz told how he was just eight when he was promised a handful of coins by Taliban fighters to convert him to their cause. The boy had been tending his father’s flock of sheep when coalition forces bombed his village.
‘The Taliban were hiding in our house when a helicopter came and bombed us,’ he said. ‘My father was hit in his heart and his head, he was torn apart. My mother was hit in the chest and died. I have no one.’
In the immediate aftermath of the raid, Neaz was kidnapped by Taliban leaders and taken to a nearby town and shown how to use guns and make IEDs. They plied him with sweets and he was initially delighted when they said they planned to bring him an extra-special gift – a suicide vest packed with bullets and grenades.
Former Taliban Recruit Neaz
‘They made me try it on. The grenades went all around my body and then they offered me the coins [50 Afghanis – about 60p],’ he said. ‘They told me to blow myself up at a checkpoint. I asked what I’d do with the money if I had to blow myself up. But they kept encouraging me, telling me that if I did it I would go to heaven.’
He finally escaped and walked nine miles to turn himself in at a police station. Now aged ten, Neaz lives in an orphanage in Lashkar Gah.
Other children are less fortunate. There are 224 children in prisons in Helmand and Ghazni, arrested by government forces for planning or carrying out attacks.
Film-maker Najibullah Quraishi said: ‘Thousands of children are being recruited and taught to make bombs or become suicide bombers. It is common for 13-year-olds to carry guns. Less than ten per cent of the population is educated so these children don’t have their own minds, they only have what the mullahs are telling them in the mosques.’ (Continue Reading.)
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