| ||Afghan militants use children as bombers in terror attacks|
[Printer Friendly Version]
KABUL - The arrests of three children with bombs and remote-control devices in former Taliban stronghold Kandahar have drawn wide attention in Afghanistan amid the government's efforts to promote education for all children in the militancy-plagued nation.
Citing Kandahar's provincial administration spokesman Jawed Faisal, local media reports said that the arrested children aged 8, 12 and 17 and all from Kandahar, have been taken into police custody for interrogation.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) also confirmed the arrest of junior insurgents. In a statement released on June 28, the alliance said that two children and one young adult were arrested while they were found carrying improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
"The Afghan National Police took children carrying improvised explosive devices into custody and the Afghan Local Police found multiple IEDs and a large amount of homemade explosives June 28 in Zharay District, Kandahar province," the statement added.
Though Taliban militants, the major anti-government armed outfit, have yet to admit to recruiting children in fighting against the government, officials believe that Taliban-run Madrasahs or religious schools in Pakistan's tribal belt along the border with Afghanistan train young seminarists with terror tactics and send them to Afghanistan to fight.
It was not the first time that security forces reporting arrest of the underage used by anti-government militants to fight Afghan and NATO-led troops.
In August 2011, Afghan President Hamid Karzai set free from a juvenile detention center in Kabul some two dozen would-be children suicide bombers, with the youngest aged only 8.
When the teen potential bombers were presented to journalists at the Presidential Palace, an 11-year-old boy said his teachers told him to "just get close to a group of foreign soldiers and touch these two wires together." His Taliban trainers in Quetta of southwest Pakistan told him that he would be able to detonate his vest and kill the foreign occupiers without killing himself.
But later in February this year, at least one of the pardoned young fighters has been arrested again in Kandahar while preparing to blow himself up against the security forces.
According to Aziz Farotan, the spokesman of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Kabul, 316 children under 18 had been recruited by militant outfits in 2011 to fight or help the fighters on the battle ground.
At least five children are killed or injured in Afghanistan every day and their increasing casualties in Afghan conflict have been a major concern for the UNICEF, Farotan was quoted as saying.