Teen hanging sheds light on increasing number of Taliban attacks on children
TEENAGER'S HANGING HIGHLIGHTS RISING NUMBER OF CHILD KILLINGS IN AFGHANISTANThe United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on October 2 condemned the hanging of a 15-year-old boy by Taliban rebels in the volatile southern Helmand Province two days earlier, criticizing the growing frequency with which children and young people are being "targeted so cynically," the Integrated Regional Information Network reported.
Killing children "goes against all norms in Afghan society, is against international law, and we condemn such actions unreservedly," UNAMA spokesman Aleem Siddique said of the September 30 killing, in which the boy was hung from a tree and his mouth stuffed with dollar bills.
In a separate incident involving children on September 30, a bomb disguised as a toy exploded in Khost Province, killing two children and wounding five others, provincial police spokesman Wazir Pacha said.
Afghan and Western officials have repeatedly accused the Taliban of using children as human shields during clashes with coalition forces, often in an effort to increase civilian casualties and subsequently blame them on Western militaries as part of its propaganda campaign (see "RFE/RL Newsline," July 26, 2007).
Schools are also being targeted, making it difficult for girls in particular to have access to education (see "RFE/RL Newsline," July 10, 2007). On June 15, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a school in Tarinkot, the capital of Oruzgan Province, as children were leaving, killing 11 and wounding several others. Over 400 schools are still closed in many southern provinces due to insecurity.
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