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Taliban Try To Use 6 Year Old Boy As Bomber

From a suddenly skeptical Associated Press:

Taliban recruits boy to bomb forces

By Jason Straziuso
AFGHANISTAN (Jun 26, 2007)

The story of a six-year-old Afghan boy who says he thwarted an effort by Taliban militants to trick him into being a suicide bomber provoked tears and anger at a meeting of tribal leaders.

The account from Juma Gul, a dirt-caked child who collects scrap metal for money, left U.S. soldiers dumbfounded that a youngster could be sent on such a mission. Afghan troops crowded around the boy to call him a hero.

Though the Taliban dismissed the story as propaganda, at a time when U.S. and NATO forces are under increasing criticism over civilian casualties, both Afghan tribal elders and U.S. military officers said they were convinced by his dramatic account.

Juma said that sometime last month Taliban fighters forced him to wear a vest they said would spray out flowers when he touched a button. He said they told him that when he saw U.S. soldiers, “throw your body at them.”

The militants cornered Juma in a Taliban-controlled district in southern Afghanistan’s Ghazni province. Their target was an impoverished youngster being raised by an older sister — but also one who proved too street-smart for their plan.

“When they first put the vest on my body I didn’t know what to think, but then I felt the bomb,” Juma told The Associated Press as he ate lamb and rice after being introduced to the elders at this joint U.S.-Afghan base in Ghazni. “After I figured out it was a bomb, I went to the Afghan soldiers for help.”

While Juma’s story could not be independently verified, local government leaders backed his account and the U.S. and NATO military missions said they believed his story…

Afghan officials described the boys as extremely poor, and Juma said he is being raised by his sister because his father works in a bakery in Pakistan and his mother lives and does domestic work in another village…

A Taliban spokesperson, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, denied the militant group uses child fighters, saying it has hundreds of adults ready for suicide missions.

“We don’t need to use a child,” Ahmadi said by satellite phone. “It’s against Islamic law, it’s against humanitarian law. This is just propaganda against the Taliban.”

However, a gory Taliban video that surfaced in April showed militants instructing a boy of about 12 as he beheaded an alleged traitor with a large knife. UN officials condemned the act as a war crime…

Haji Niaz Mohammad, one of the elders at the gathering, said he hoped “God makes the Afghan government strong” so it can defeat the Taliban.

“They are the enemy of Muslims and the enemy of the children,” he said, shaking his fists in anger.

No, the terrorists never use children.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 26th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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