KANDAHAR: Police arrested two 10-year-old would-be suicide bombers in southern Afghanistan, officials said Sunday, months after President Hamid Karzai pardoned the pair over a similar incident.
“The two ten-year old would-be bombers were arrested along with three other militants last week, while planning an attack on Afghan and international forces in Kandahar”, Zalmai Ayubi the provincial spokesman told AFP.
The children had two vests full of explosives when they were detained, he added.
They had previously been arrested by security forces, again wearing explosive vests but were reportedly released last August, along with 18 other children, after receiving a pardon from the Afghan President.
The two boys had gone to Pakistan after their release but were sent back to Afghanistan after being trained to conduct suicide attacks.
“They told me I would be safe after conducting a suicide attack,” one the boys Azizullah was quoted in a statement sent by Kandahar media office.
The boy said he was persuaded to carry out the attack at a training camp by militants who told him when “Americans fire at you… they will not be able to hit you”.
The second boy, named as Nasibullah in the statement, said he had been forced to join a militant team who handed him over to the Taliban.
“The Taliban forced me to fire a Kalashinkov… I was scared at first. They also taught me how to blow my vest, they showed me how to press the button in my hand,” he said, according to the statement.
“They then brought me to the city, asked me to sit on the side of the road and wait for foreign forces to come… I was there when two police came and arrested me.
“I ask all my madrassa teachers not to teach kids to become suicide bombers.”
Ten years after being overthrown by US forces in response to the airborne Al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington, Taliban insurgents have shown a ruthless resilience to the West’s military might.
Taliban militants have reportedly used children and teenagers to conduct attacks on security forces.