Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, July 16, 2007

Teenager trained to be a suicide bomber released

Rafiqullah, a 14-year-old Pakistani boy trained to be a suicide bomber, was released by Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday, The Associated Press reported the same day. Karzai invited Rafiqullah and his father to the presidential palace after terminating the prison sentence.

Trained as a suicide bomber in a Pakistani madrassa, or religious school, Rafiqullah was instructed to kill an Afghan governor. After walking eight hours to the Afghan border, Rafiqullah was given an explosive vest and instructions from a man named Abdul Aziz.

“I said I was afraid to carry out the suicide attack, and Abdul Aziz pointed a gun at me and said ‘I'll kill you if you don’t,’” Rafiqullah said in an interview.

Karzai said of the case: “Today we are faced with a fearful and terrifying truth, and that truth is the sending of a Muslim child to carry out a suicide attack.”

The Afghan government presented Rafiqullah with $2,000 in order to return to Pakistan. “I wish for him a good life,” Karzai said. “The message of the Afghan people is a message of kindness, a message of good relations, good business and trade, not deceiving and encouraging people’s children to carry out suicide attacks.”

Last month, reports surfaced that a 6-year-old boy had been recruited by Taliban forces to be a suicide bomber. According to Rafiqullah, two other teenagers from his madrassa had also been pegged to conduct suicide attacks. The United Nations considers the use of child combatants to be a war crime.

For the full article, click here.



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