Taliban recruit hundreds of children in Badakhshan
FAIZABAD (Pajhwok): Local officials say Taliban militants have started recruiting children to their ranks and are training them in military techniques in northeastern Badakhshan province.
A provincial council member claimed 70 percent of children were used as fighters in areas where Taliban militants were in full control.
Ahmad Javid Mujadadi told Pajhwok Afghan News Taliban were using children aged between 12 to 16 years as a weapon of war in Warduj, Yamgan and Khastak districts of Badakhshan.
Taliban captured Warduj district in October 2015 and Yamgan district in November 2015.
“Foreign terrorists with support of Taliban are recruiting children in their ranks and using them as war tools in areas under their control,” Mujadadi added. He said security forces should retake control of these areas from militants in order to rescue the children from their cruelty.
Mohammad Amir, a resident of Paish village of Warduj district, said people were sending their children to join the Taliban for economic reasons. Around 300 children have voluntary joined the militants and the Taliban have distributed them weapons, he said.
A shopkeeper, wishing anonymity, said most shops had been closed and businesses stopped since the fall of Warduj district to militants. He said people allowed their children to join militants due to poverty.
According to sources in the insurgency, the recruited children are paid monthly stipends.
Warjud district chief Dawlat Mohammad Khawar said Taliban had equipped 40 percent of children with weapons in Warduj valley.
“The situation in Warduj is very bad, around 700 government officials have fled to Baharak district from Warduj and families of some government officers remain in the fallen areas and they are suffering from economic hardships,” he said.
Badakhshan deputy police chief Col. Sakhi Dad Haidari said people influenced by Taliban propaganda were sending their children to them. Haidari said the children in Taliban ranks were also used to motivate other children to join the insurgency.
Ahmad Navid Wafa, an official of the regional human rights commission, said recruiting children as soldiers was against the Constitution and international rules. He said neither militants nor security forces should use children as soldiers.
Provincial police chief Brig. Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Ghafori said clearing operations would be launched soon to recapture the two districts.
Local officials say around 300 foreign rebels are operating in areas under Taliban control, particularly in Khastak valley of Juram district.
Taliban have not commented about recruitment of children to their ranks, but their former leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had directed militants not to recruit children as fighters or use them as a weapon of war.
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