News / Asia

    Afghan Insurgents Recruit Child Suicide Bombers

    Bethany Matta

    Throughout the war in Afghanistan, insurgents have modified their tactics to adapt to the changing battlefield. In the past year, fighters have disguised themselves in burqas, hidden bombs in turbans, and increasingly turned to children to carry out attacks. We talk with a Pakistani boy who is one the war’s youngest recruited bombers.

    When 13 year-old Ali Ahmad says he wants an education, he is not talking about the education he already has. "I was taught how to use guns and weapons and they also taught me how to do a suicide attack by pressing some button. They told me I would be paid a lot of money,” he explained.

    Ali lost both of his parents when he was younger.  He and his younger brother were living in their uncle’s home in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province.  Three months ago, he ran away. “I met three people near the border and asked them to give me a job. They asked to me to come with them, when I went they grabbed me and put something over my eyes so I could not see and tied my hands and legs," he recalled. "They took me to a training center where I trained for 20 days.”  

    Ali’s recruiters then showed him the American base in Spin Boldak where they wanted him to attack using a suicide vest.  “They said when you do the suicide attack, you will go to heaven, even if you kill just one American in this attack. I said that I would be killed too, but they told me that my soul will be in peace,” he said.

    Ali says he knew what would happen if he detonated the vest and was thinking of ways to escape.  But before he could carry out his mission, suspicious residents turned him in to security forces.

    Over the past year Kandahar officials say insurgents have chosen to fight fewer face-to-face battles with troops. Instead, they say militants favor suicide attacks and are increasingly relying on children to carry them out.

    “Using children is a new enemy tactic. Children are given 50 to 100 Afghanis to carry things. They don’t know what they’re carrying and the control to detonate the bomb is with someone else. When the kids reach the tanks or police vehicles, the enemies blow them up. Many kids are told they will survive," General Abdul Raziq is Kandahar’s acting police chief stated.  "Children cannot judge, and the older ones no longer want to do it.”

    The Afghan Taliban, the main militant group in the province, insists it never uses children for insurgent activity. A Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, says the practice goes against Islam.

    Ali remains in custody of the country’s main spy agency. Officials say they do not know what to do with him.  Ali has no family and shelters refuse to take him.  Ali says he worries about his younger brother and would rather be studying and playing - like other boys his age.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora