The Taliban Murders Kids – ‘Throwaway’ Kid Soldiers
Pakistan’s child soldiers
by Kalsoom Lakhani
On Sunday, the Washington Post covered the progress of a new boarding school established to rehabilitate and deradicalize former child militants in Swat Valley, Pakistan. The army-sponsored center currently houses 86 young boys who were either captured by the military or brought in by their families. According to the Post, “Some had been trained by insurgent groups as slaves or thieves, some as bombers.”
The rehabilitation and study of these boys could provide deeper insight into the indoctrination of child militants in Pakistan as well as the broader psychology of child soldiers as a whole. According to Amnesty International, “Approximately 250,000 children under the age of 18 are thought to be fighting in conflicts around the world.” Moreover, although many child soldiers are between the ages of 15 and 18 years of age, significant recruitment starting at the age of 10 and the use of even younger children has been recorded.
In Pakistan, a disturbing number of suicide bombers are between the ages of 12-18 years old, about 90%, noted Pakistani journalist Zahid Hussain, who is the senior editor at Newsline magazine and the author of Frontline Pakistan. However, in the PBS Frontline World documentary, Children of the Taliban, filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy interviewed Taliban commander Qari Abdullah who revealed he also recruits children as young as five, six and seven years old, emphasizing, “Children are tools to achieve God’s will. And whatever comes your way, you sacrifice it.”
In an interview with BBC News Hour, Chinoy noted that one of the most interesting things about meeting with the Taliban, particularly the younger militants, was that they “all look like they’re in a trance, they rock back and forth, it’s as if they’re reciting things that they have been programmed to recite.”
Pakistani authorities rescued 20 young boys who had been among hundreds recruited by the Taliban, reported media outlets in July 2009. Major Nasir Khan, a military spokesman in Swat, stated the child fighters had been heavily brainwashed by militants. When asked what they had been told by the Taliban, the boys reportedly said, “The Pakistan army is the ally of the Western capitalist world, they are the enemies of Islam. The fight against them is justified, they are apostates, the friends of the infidels.” – More here.
Bombs and beatings: Life among the Taliban
In Pakistan an account of life with the Taliban has emerged from a 13-year-old girl called Meena, who says her own family tried to turn her into a suicide bomber.
There is no independent confirmation of her account but police say they believe she is telling the truth, and her information could be valuable.
Meena told her story to our Pakistan correspondent Orla Guerin. – More here.
Child soldiers trained by the Taliban to kill British soldiers
by Nick Owens
CLUTCHING AK-47 rifles and marching to war… these chilling images [the video is below in original article source] show child soldiers on their way to fight British troops in Afghanistan.
The pictures come from a video filmed at an al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan, where Taliban warlords are turning boys as young as FIVE into trained killers. Recorded only weeks ago, it captures a dozen nervous-looking boys in camouflage uniforms with headbands which say: There is no God but Allah. – More here.
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