Karzai orders release of would-be child bombers
Speaking to a group of detained would-be suicide attackers at the Presidential Palace, Karzai denounced the use of children for such assaults as an un-Islamic act.
The children belonged to Logar, Khost, Kandahar, Ghazni, Samangan, Kunduz, Jawzjan, Kabul, Parwan and Nangarhar provinces.
Also present on the occasion were the first vice president, chief justice, minister of justice, Ulema Council chief, Upper House chairman, lawyers and other officials.
Ulema Council head Qayamuddin Kashaf said it was a tragedy that the enemies of Afghanistan were using children against their own people. "I want to cry for these children," said Kashaf, who urged the president to forgive them in deference to Eidul Fitr.
Religious scholar Niamatullah Shahrani said the children were not of legal age and should not be treated as criminals. He believed they had been cheated by the enemies of the country and Islam.
Gul Khan, 8, a resident of Kandahar, said his father had sent him to the house of his uncle in Pakistan. The uncle then sent him to a madrassa in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, where he was taught suicide attack techniques.
He was then sent back to his hometown with the directive to carry out an attack on foreign soldiers on a Friday night. "I was told that carrying out the attack on Friday night has rewards from Allah." However, he was arrested by border police before he could enter the country.
Noor Ahmad, 16, was provided with a suicide vest and a pistol. But he surrendered to the police soon after entering Afghanistan. "If I had gone back, the Taliban would have killed me."
Speaking on the occasion, Karzai ordered the officials concerned to grant Noor Ahmad a scholarship and send him to Turkey for education. "The enemies of Islam are training children for suicide attacks to defame the religion."
An 18-year-old boy said he still had the intention to carry out a suicide attack against foreign soldiers in Afghanistan. However, the president said he would sit with the boy to convince him.
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