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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs