A young Afghan girl detained while allegedly wearing a suicide bomber's vest says she does not want to return home. She is asking the Afghan government for protection.
Police in Helmand province detained 10-year-old Spozhmai last week. She says her brother, a Taliban commander, forced her to attempt a suicide attack on a police checkpoint. Reports from the area indicate that instead of carrying out the mission, she ran home to get the vest off, and then went to the police for protection.
The Taliban denied being involved in the plot.
Spozhmai spoke with the VOA Pashto Service's Ashna Radio. She says now she cannot go to school safely in her village.
"Yes, I want to stay here and go to school. My father says 'you can go to school' (here with the police). I want them to keep me here," Spozhmai said. "I do not want to go home. My brothers would beat me. Even my father would not let me (go to school because of the danger). I do not remember them. Why should I remember them? They were mistreating me.... .The government is protecting me."
Spozhmai says she is happy she did not carry out the attack. She says the soldiers are protecting her.
Spozhmai's father, Abdul Ghafoor, says he will not be able to protect his daughter if she is sent home. He also spoke to VOA's Ashna Radio.
"I am afraid of my own sons. I have three sons. One of them is a Talib, they are all together. I am not afraid for my life. I am afraid that they will hurt the girl. So, I want that (the government) gives me a piece of land and to protect my daughter."
Abdul Ghafoor says he wants the government to help his family move to a safer place.
News reports and rights activists say that over the past few years, Afghan police have intercepted scores of children whom insurgents were planning to use as suicide bombers. Some were as young as six.