Next generation of Taliban ready to fight

Published: February 8, 2011

Hundreds of Afghan, Pakistani teens recruited to keep the insurgency going.

ISLAMABAD: As the endgame begins in Afghanistan, a new generation of militants has joined the Taliban insurgency on both sides of the Durand Line, The Express Tribune has learnt from police and intelligence officials.

All the officials requested anonymity because they were not authorised to speak on the issue.

“The sons of the Taliban fighters who were 10 or 12 years of age at the time of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 are now 20 or 22 years old,” an intelligence official said. “They are a product of war and ultimately they have to follow their elders,” he added.

These teenaged insurgents in Pakistan and Afghanistan are being groomed and trained  for suicide missions.

Police admit that most suicide attacks involve teenagers who the Taliban call ‘weapon of mass destruction, or atom bomb’.

The Taliban remain a formidable force notwithstanding the fact that hundreds of their cadres have been killed over the last 10 years. This shows that the militants have no shortage of fresh recruits, said another official.

The insurgents have recruited hundreds of ‘child soldiers’ to fuel their ‘holy war’ against the US-led Nato forces in Afghanistan.

“Most of these teenaged fighters are the relatives of those militants who were killed by foreign troops,” the official said.

“They joined the Taliban voluntarily to avenge the killing of their fathers or siblings,” he added. “Badl or revenge is an integral part of the Afghan culture. They will take revenge even if it takes them 100 years.”

US President Barack Obama has said that foreign troops will start pulling out of Afghanistan in July, this year. And counter-terror experts think that the announcement of timeframe by Obama has emboldened the militants.

“The militants think that Nato has conceded defeat by setting a timetable for withdrawal of their troops from the region,” said one analyst.

Across the border in Pakistan, it’s the same story. Young men are being recruited by the Taliban to keep their insurgency going.

Most of these young insurgents are the progeny of those Arab, Uzbek, Tajik and Chechen militants who had come to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Mujahideen against the then Soviet troops and could not go back as their home countries refused to
accept them.

These foreign fighters, then, settled in the Pak-Afghan border regions and married local Afghan girls, said a security official. Majority of them were linked with the al Qaeda terror network.

According to intelligence officials, the first batch of young militants, mostly teens, was recruited in October 2006 when US jets raided a madrassa in the Bajaur tribal region.

After a blistering public criticism, the then military ruler Pervez Musharraf claimed that the air raid has been carried out by the Pakistan military.

The vengeful militants struck back. A suicide bomber targeted an army camp outside Takhat Bai, in Mardan district, on November 8, 2006, killing 42 soldiers.

Most students from the bombed madrassa, aged between 12 and 22 year, fled to neighbouring Swat to join radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah in his bloody campaign for the enforcement of his own version of Shariah in the region.

Fazlullah had, meanwhile, recruited hundreds of young men from Swat and elsewhere for his campaign. And they were trained by the Taliban in the Waziristan region.

The military has rounded up approximately 3,000 insurgents, including young men, who had been recruited for various missions such as spying, fighting and suicide attacks.

“This recruitment process has been ongoing in the Waziristan region for the last seven years,” a security official said.

“Dozens of tribal teens volunteer for the insurgency after a systematic motivation process,” he added. “They are made to watch video films, showing physical torture and killing of Muslims women and children in Kashmir, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Somalia by what they call infidels.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (49)

  • ali
    Feb 8, 2011 - 7:26AM
  • Anil
    Feb 8, 2011 - 7:35AM

    As Pakistan sows, so will Pakistan reap!

    Afghanistan has a very little to lose!Recommend

  • Feb 8, 2011 - 8:40AM

    we want peace in PakistanRecommend

  • Shahid Cheema
    Feb 8, 2011 - 9:57AM

    ” Next means 2nd actual generation is fighting along with 3rd generation just joing them but let me tell you 4th generation is in que and under mental training bz they are so young for physical activities. These would be the most lethal one ” keep in mind ” ”

    One fact wich is out of sight from many, is badal or tribal customs are one of the reasons for this fight but these are not actual cause.
    Actual reason is authority of Kitab of Sunnah as law of Land, this is the main reason for fight by Taliban and Alqaida. Both can compromise on first two but not on last one.
    In fact (according to them) they dont have authority to compromise on it, they can give-up/forgive blood of their beloved one but not the last option. Recommend

  • vasan
    Feb 8, 2011 - 11:12AM

    The intelligence personnel and police should know They are the abettors of this terrorist mob and they are trainers and protectors in Waziristan for these mobs. Now; Pakistanis, pl get ready for nuke explosion as the Taliban calls them. You have more nukes than India, man, for certain.Recommend

  • Eeman
    Feb 8, 2011 - 11:53AM

    No need to make it a news. It’s an understandable outcome. Recommend

  • Jawad
    Feb 8, 2011 - 12:13PM

    Crap, tribune had seemed to joined the bandwagon. anything unsubstantiated about militancy and that makes to the headlines. Recommend

  • Shuaib
    Feb 8, 2011 - 12:23PM

    So, the worst is yet to come and the whole war in FATA has been a total waste (not to mention the loss of Pakistani soldiers, Pakistan’s reputation damage and the dog-like treatment the country gets from USA), Recommend

  • Feb 8, 2011 - 12:36PM

    @ Anil – Wasan – This process will go on and on unless we redress problems of the oppressed ones.

    What do you think India does not have this type of creed. They are not called Taliban but something else but they exist everywhere and it is now an international menace.

    So think for the better solution of the one who are not well off and needy.

    Due to economic crunch this looks difficult but not impossible. Please do not try to give it a political cover as everyone knows the root cause.Recommend

  • Khan
    Feb 8, 2011 - 12:48PM

    Although it is not a news as every one knows it.. It is the result of those bad decesion of pakistan leadearship to blindly follow up America and make desturction to its own country.Ameria and Afghanistan has less damage as compare to Pakistain damages but who care of those poor people when there is matter of earning Dollars fm America.Recommend

  • HorribleCreature
    Feb 8, 2011 - 1:58PM

    Wow what a grand freshers placement service. No internship, training, etc.. yet
    everyone gets posted in the business of killing and avenging.
    Pakistan hold on tight. Another wave of fanatic morons are on their way for rampage.
    Really sad…….Recommend

  • Ummi Khann
    Feb 8, 2011 - 2:14PM

    The militants/insurgents in Afghanistan are combating a holy war against the occupation of 35+ foreign countries. To Liberate there soil from the boots of US Led Nato. Those who are involved in insurgency in Pak are Raw-CIA funded agents trying to transfer the battlefield to Pakistan.Recommend

  • Saad Duraiz
    Feb 8, 2011 - 2:24PM

    What these Indians commenting here dont realise and probably never will is that once the game ends in Afghanistan, these very jihadis will consume Afghanistan and the billions the Indians are investing in that wretched country will be a ‘sunk cost’.

    As for Pakistan, it will be at peace – like it was before 9/11 – because these jihadis will waste themselves fighting their brothers, the Northern Alliance. And oh yeah, every summer they’ll cross over to spend some chilled out months in the Kashmir Valley.

    Rest assured, we will be the last ones laughing in this region. Recommend

  • vasan
    Feb 8, 2011 - 2:33PM

    Saleem Siddiqi; No question of what is the solution. It is to get US out, sit with taliban and talk(no military men but civil admin) and above all reform your educational curriculam and get religion out of the way. Game for implementing any of the above ??. What will u do with the guys who are indoctrinated already???Recommend

  • Umair Mallick
    Feb 8, 2011 - 2:55PM

    So is the young progressive peaceful Muslim generation of Pakistan who are fed up of this wild extremism spread amongst poorly educated of the low socioeconomic class in the mountains of northwest being influenced by the barbaric neighbourhood. Not to ignore this weak and corrupt government and the politicians.
    But sad that media seems to publish such news showing their lack of professionalism.Recommend

  • Feb 8, 2011 - 3:58PM

    Your foreign minister recently said in an interview with Gulf News that “what happened in mumbai is sad and what happened in Samjhouta express was sad. But we need to move on…” Wrong Mr. foreign minister. You cannot fight terrorism with words like sad or articles that cry out “where is pakistan going” or “where is Jinnah’s pakistan”.

    Samjhouta is being tackled with police work. The least you can do is investigate the handlers of mumbai.

    Terrorism can only be tackled by effective intelligence and police work. The rest like education etc needs to be looked into as well but that is a long term strategy. The problem is the policy makers in Pakistan seem to be drop outs of the Ghalib school of angst -= they would rather sit with Sameena and Usman Peerzada and talk in poetic urdu about where Pakistan is going than getting down to solving the crimes. No poetry in that. Recommend

  • ALI
    Feb 8, 2011 - 4:44PM

    This is an utterly irresponsible reporting on the tribune’s part.

    The news begins with “As the endgame begins in Afghanistan, a new generation of militants has joined the Taliban insurgency on both sides of the Durand Line,…”

    Despite the carpet bombing by B-52s and an endless annihilation by the US led forces in Afghanistan, ever since US pooh-poohed their Frankenstien in Afganistan, Afghan mothers have not adopted the birth control system. Now what do we expect from a kid who grew up in the mid of this tragedy or was earning his puberty with 60,000 treading his motherland. Would he go to Stanford or UCLA for a degree in Science or would he log on to respond to some idiots who expect him to do so? Is he left with any choice but to revenge for his family who were crushed under a bomb? Comon people get a life ….

    Now the later part “The Express Tribune has learnt from police and intelligence officials.”

    Why don’t Express Tribune hire a bunch of sepoy and hawaldars as their reporters. I think this paper shall re-assess and get back to the basics of journalism (not what the Rupert Murdochs business model suggests; yellow journalism) Recommend

  • Feb 8, 2011 - 5:16PM

    well we had a lot of time to deal with the mullahs – this is the outcome when mullahs are allowed to lay eggs and sit on them, naturally the eggs have hatched now what?Recommend

  • ashok sai
    Feb 8, 2011 - 6:00PM

    Hmm, assets seems to be multiplying.Recommend

  • Vinayak
    Feb 8, 2011 - 6:33PM

    @Saad Duraiz:
    After the Afghan government drives them out of Afghanistan, and the Indian Government kicks them out of Kashmir, they will come to roost in Pakistan. Then you can laugh as much as you can, because then you won’t be laughing for long anyway.Recommend

  • ravi
    Feb 8, 2011 - 6:38PM

    @Saad Duraiz:
    “As for Pakistan, it will be at peace – like it was before 9/11 – because these jihadis will waste themselves fighting their brothers, the Northern Alliance. And oh yeah, every summer they’ll
    cross over to spend some chilled out months in the Kashmir Valley.”

    Mr REST ASSURED picture is more bleak that you could see through it Recommend

  • This has been and is a serious issue for Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States. We underestimated the costs of war on terror and now we have a lot to lose. I wonder whether the countries will curb this rising threat or are we going to have another decade of unrest and war. Normalcy isn’t expected in near future but these moves seem to worsen the situation.Recommend

  • N
    Feb 8, 2011 - 7:28PM

    This is a terrrible mess………and i dont see a solution to this problem except that madressas throughout Pakistan should be governed by independant muslim religious scholors……….those with high values….not fanatics………the situation in which we and our neighbouring countries are in can only be controlled if people are not brain-washed towards wrongdoingRecommend

  • Talat Haque
    Feb 8, 2011 - 8:12PM

    Set a thief to catch a thief ………….that’s how it can be done …………. of course everyone knows that ………. it suits some people to have this chaos around ……….. it will stop when THEY decide to end it …………… meantime we all suffer.Recommend

  • Said Nazir
    Feb 8, 2011 - 8:14PM

    Dear you touched a good topic but some of the facts you mentioned are far away from reality. For instance you said that Badl or avenge is integral part of Afghan culture. To make it correct you should have said that Badle is the integral of Pakhtoon culture rather than Afghan culture which is represnted by different ethnic groups living in Aghanistan. Second you said that sons and relatives of Taliban were carrying out suicide attacks which beyond my comprehension. As far as i know the siblings and dear ones of Taliban do not carry out suicide attacks rather than they use innocents non relatives children for the purpose Recommend

  • Usman Ahmad
    Feb 8, 2011 - 8:23PM

    In matters regarding militancy, extremism, fundamentalism and conservative elements at large the reporting of the whole English Press of Pakistan is skewed, biased and carries a vivid tint of negative undertone. Irresponsible repoting at best and murder od journalistic ethics ar worst.Recommend

  • chitposh
    Feb 8, 2011 - 8:41PM

    Everyone is believing this news piece as if its part of some sacred book however fact is that Talibanisation is vanishing gradualy Afgans and Pak Tribals are also human beings they are realizing their situation and most importantly international powers are loosing funds to fuel burning region so i am optimistic things are leading to success of humanity Recommend

  • Talib
    Feb 8, 2011 - 10:07PM

    It seems right out of Charlie Wilson’s War’s pages, when the Congressman tells a subcommittee meeting arguing for continued US support for Afghanistan’s development that as most of the Afghan refugees’ are in age bracket of 14 to 16 and majority of them have lost parents and homes destroyed and they will ultimately become stock of war. “The ball will keeps bouncing,” as he puts it. Recommend

  • Feb 8, 2011 - 10:33PM

    @deep Now Taliban got fame because of 9/11. Are these kind of breed not in India. Gandhi was killed, Indra Gandhi was murdered by Sikh extremist. Rajiv Gandhi plane was crashed by an indian extrimist. So my dear you must see your own house before throwing stones on your neighbours.

    This is a temporary phase and inshallah we see its solution soon. US has forced us into this trouble and now US itself is mediating with Taliban for a safe passage. Immediately US leave Afghanistan, we hope to have good relations with Taliban after all we are muslims and know how to forgive and forget.

    Regarding foreign Minister statement, he has to give a diplomatic statement to cool down things. We are not worried or afraid of India. If couple of incidents happened in India, it is Indian security lapses or inability to stop them. Pakistan cannot do anything to help India to protect it. We did not know that India is so fragile that some terrorist came by sea and attacked Bombay and killed so many people. It is a good lesson to be learnt by Pakistani Commandos that India is so fragile that it could also be attached by this fashion. Dont hide your weaknesses but try to overcome on them. This is a great security lapse on the part of India.Recommend

  • Zubair
    Feb 9, 2011 - 12:13AM

    You can NEVER win this war with bombing them. We are always going to get more Taliban,be them in Afghanistan or FATA but we shall never win this war by bombing them.
    There is only one way to win this war and that is through uplifting the entire region socio-economically. This is major problem with solution that should be long term.

    NO NO,im not some Taliban apologist ,I am a secular myself but I refuse to own such war which served my country Pakistan NOTHING.Forget about Afghanistan,we must uplift the entire FATA region socio-economically. we have to save them while we can and it is through winning their hearts and minds,not by bombing them. Majority of people are tribal and we are lucky that they accepted Pakistan way back long but what we’re doing,im afraid we’re crossing a line where the very same people who once went to kashmir to fought alongside Pakistan army will cease their support not for military but country herself !Recommend

  • F Robinson
    Feb 9, 2011 - 3:59AM

    Pakistan should teach Information Technology and not Taliban IT (International Terrorism).Recommend

  • mohtamim ahmad
    Feb 9, 2011 - 6:48AM

    isn’t a scoop of Express?Recommend

  • gulshan
    Feb 9, 2011 - 6:51AM
  • Hanif Awan 831682 831682
    Feb 9, 2011 - 10:27AM

    Our beloved PROPHET (P U H)already said that every coming day will be worse than today.So, I believe that more bad days have to come to us, in shape of TALIBAAN or like them.May ALMIGHTY ALLAH save all of us from all these DEVILS.AAMEENRecommend

  • ashok sai
    Feb 9, 2011 - 10:41AM

    @ Dr.Saleem Siddiqi

    Get your facts correct, Rajiv Gandhi was not killed by plane crash.

    “we hope to have good relations with Taliban after all we are muslims and know how to forgive and forget”

    Don’t tell this to any of your country man who have lost their kin and kith because of suicide attacks by Talibans, they will alter your face.Recommend

  • sajjad
    Feb 9, 2011 - 11:08AM

    keep yourselves anonymous intelligence bhayee jaans…..keep watching the Talibans killing Pakistanis on daily basis and you keep informing media keeping your identity in secret….this is what you are paid for through our taxesRecommend

  • Saad Duraiz
    Feb 9, 2011 - 11:35AM

    After the Afghan government drives them out of Afghanistan, and the Indian Government kicks them out of Kashmir, they will come to roost in Pakistan. Then you can laugh as much as you can, because then you won’t be laughing for long anyway.

    What world are you living in dear neighbour? What Afghan govt are you talking about? The one who’s control doesn’t extend beyong Kabul district?! ha! 10 years of fighting and the world’s greatest military is about to give up and you believe the so-called “government” of a pot-smoker will kick the jihadis OUT of afghanistan?

    Indian Government kicks them out of Kashmir? Pakistani support of Kashmiri militants began in 1989 and till 9/11 when Pakistani government took a U-turn on that policy and STOPPED sending inflitrators (ghus-bhaitiye, remember?) to Kashmir was the only time the Indian Army could boast of decreased militancy in Kashmir. Lets just wait for the Americans to leave Afghanistan, we’ll see how peaceful Kashmir is then. Recommend

  • Saad Duraiz
    Feb 9, 2011 - 11:40AM


    My dear Ravi, we have been playing around in that wretched country for more than 30 years now. Its our backyard as compared to being ‘the house down the road’ for you. Just because you finally managed to set foot in that country for the first time due to 9/11 and you think your govt and RAW will out-play us?

    Remember Brig Mehta? He thought he was the answer to Afghanistan COIN. oh yeah! I just remembered Rao. Poor chap. They finally found him on the roof. tsk tsk. Recommend

  • Vinayak
    Feb 9, 2011 - 1:13PM

    @Saad Duraiz:

    You take pride in your exports don’t you ?!!

    “10 years of fighting and the world’s greatest military is about to give up and you believe the so-called “government” of a pot-smoker will kick the jihadis OUT of afghanistan?”
    -> What the worlds greatest military could not achieve, the Afghan people will achieve. Many countries, including India, are with the Afghan people in this respect.

    “Pakistani support of Kashmiri militants began in 1989 and till 9/11 when Pakistani government took a U-turn on that policy and STOPPED sending inflitrators (ghus-bhaitiye, remember?) to Kashmir was the only time the Indian Army could boast of decreased militancy in Kashmir.”
    ->Your argument has won here. I give your government complete credit for the decreased violence in Kashmir. Recommend

  • vasan
    Feb 9, 2011 - 2:39PM

    Vinayak and Saad Duraiz: I will go one step further and give the complete credit to Pakistani govt for the increased violence also from 1989 and for the dollars paid to the Geelani mob and Mirwaiz killersRecommend

  • Vinayak
    Feb 9, 2011 - 3:20PM

    You have denied Mr. Saad Duraiz the pleasure of himself claiming credit for all these things.Recommend

  • Hamza
    Feb 9, 2011 - 9:59PM

    Denial is not a river in EgyptRecommend

  • Saad Duraiz
    Feb 10, 2011 - 12:39AM


    You take pride in your exports don’t you ?!!
    Definitely dear neighbour, its not the first time states have used proxies to wage war against their enemies. Vietnam, East Pakistan, Afghanistan 80′s, Contra rebels, Hezbollah. Its survival, I dont merely take pride in it, I support it as well.Recommend

  • Perviz
    Feb 10, 2011 - 3:53AM

    “A wolf gives birth to wolf” says a Persian proverb.

    * Pakistan reaps what it sows *Recommend

  • Vinayak
    Feb 10, 2011 - 1:23PM

    @Saad Duraiz:
    Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others.

    Your economy is in tatters and your government is struggling to repay debt. How will you even pay salaries to your proxies?Recommend

  • vasan
    Feb 10, 2011 - 2:20PM

    Today is a payday for one terrorist in Pakistan. My dear Vinayak; the pay cheque is exclusive use of 7 or so virgins in the heavens, dont u know.Recommend

  • ashok sai
    Feb 10, 2011 - 3:13PM

    @ Vinayak on Saad Duraiz

    Ignorance can be rectified by teaching whereas madness cannot be.Recommend

  • Mehvish
    Feb 10, 2011 - 8:00PM

    Punjab based PML-N is finding it hard to recognize terrorism as a local phenomenon, that is what called a short sighted party policy It is generally believed, that the Punjab Government is led by the right wing party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), is Taliban apologetic and weak in the fight against the terrorism. It is deliberately but illogically find lame excuses and concoct cover-ups for the terrorists by citing the reaction to the drone attacks or continuity of Musharraf Policy. The PPP, ANP and other democratic forces charge is that the PML-N is soft on some of these terror outfits for political gains. A problem lies in PML-N’s policy regarding terrorism. According to many observers, the Punjab government has decided not to fight the terrorist organizations and provide security to citizens.Recommend

  • trojan
    Mar 10, 2011 - 1:32PM

    @Khan: luckily, US govt may change every 4 years. And lessons from past foreign policy mistakes can be learnt and allowed to help guide new policy. There are policy-makers that sincerely wish their country (US) had not engaged Pakistan in the way it had in past, resulting in a situation which now poses a threat to international security. In the long-run, that is the upside of democracy. Recommend

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