Mingora (Pak), July 18 : Flouting the May 21 peace agreement signed with the NWFP Government, the Taliban militants in Swat tribal area continue to recruit militants, preferably young boys, and train them in carrying out suicide attacks and operating guns and other arms.
As per the peace agreement, the Taliban was bound to close all militant training centres in the region, reported the Dawn.
According to the local residents, about 26 boys, aged between 13 and 18 from militancy-infested areas of Charbagh, Gulibagh, Dakorak, Khwazakhela in Matta tehsil and Kabal town, have been lured by the local Taliban to join their camps in the scenic Peuchaar area, added the paper.
The missing boys' parents usually do not report to the police about disappearance of their children because of fear, and pretend that the boys had gone to their grandparents' house. Four 'missing' boys returned home after a month. "All the villagers know they went to training camps," said a few locals.
One 37-year-old Asghar, who works for a well-off family in Swat, says his 16-year-old son Ihsan, a student of class 10, has become an altogether different person after spending one month in a training camp. "Ihsan has grown a beard and has become serious. He does not sit and chat with us anymore," the paper quoted the man as saying. He added that the entire family was upset at his son's behaviour.
According to the paper, the Taliban assess the temperament of young recruits and those they think may be trained to carry out suicide attacks are equipped with skills needed for the deadly mission. Others are trained to use arms.
On the other hand, a Taliban spokesman claimed that youths joined their force on their own free will, and that they were not forced to go to training camps. "We don't force boys to join our camps," he added.
According to the local administration, since the May 21 peace agreement there have been seven attacks on police and five on army personnel and two policemen have been kidnapped. Militants have burnt down three checkposts, 15 schools and five private buildings, including a PTDC hotel in Malam Jabba. There have been four incidents of bomb blasts. It said that the training centres were still functioning in violation of the peace agreement.