Pak Taliban recruiting teenagers as suicide bombers

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Lahore, Oct 17 (ANI): The Taliban is recruiting young boys as suicide bombers in Pakistan.

Hundreds of young boys from Kabal village in Swat and those surrounding it have disappeared, and pressed into the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ranks, the Guardian reported.

While many boys joined voluntarily, others were taken by force and some were even sold by their parents for 25,000 rupees, the going rate paid by the TTP for a healthy teenager, the report said.

A boy, who had vanished from Kabal and returned after more than a year, disclosed that he had been recruited by the TTP, and locked into a programme to produce martyrs.

However, before he could be utilised, the army had busted his training camp and taken several boys to their base at Malakand Pass, 30 miles southeast of Kabal, putting them in a kind of reform school along with dozens more young, would-be bombers.

About the army's initiative to rehabilitate such children, Director Dr Feriha Peracha explained, "In July 2009, they approached me to assess a group they had recovered from Taliban camps. They wanted to know if I thought they could be rehabilitated."

Fort commander at Malakand Colonel Aamer Najam said, "Many were against the school." Explaining the significance of the experiment, he added, "We are tampering with the terrorists' investments. They have spent money on these boys, recruiting and training them. One day, they will come after us."

"These kids are completely brainwashed," revealed Dr Farooq Khan, a religious scholar and Vice Chancellor of Swat University, who was brought in to correct the boys' religious misconceptions.

"In the camps, the TTP told them that Pakistan is run by foreign infidels, so it is imperative to wage jihad. They told them, 'Join us to wage holy war and you will go straight to heaven'. Here, we have to start again, right from the beginning, to explain true Islam and the Quran," he added.

Boys who go home are kept on parole for two years, monitored by the school and the army. Families are made to sign an agreement that if the boy goes missing again, a family member will surrender to army detention until the child is recovered. (ANI)

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