Taliban establish suicide bombing schools for children in Pakistan

Para-military troops patrol Karachi’s Sohrab Goth area in Karachi. [Reuters]

Para-military troops patrol Karachi’s Sohrab Goth area in Karachi. [Reuters]

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A teenage would-be suicide bomber in Karachi told police interrogators that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has established "schools" in the area to brainwash young men.

Police last month arrested Mohammad Salaam, 16, along with two alleged accomplices, in connection with a planned attack at the Sohrab Goth suburb in Karachi.

"They deliver lectures and sermons in an attempt to allegedly brainwash young men to join their ranks and carry out suicide bombing in the city," Salaam said of what goes on at the schools. "They want to impose their own brand of sharia in a small pocket of the residential neighbourhood."

Taliban presence in Karachi

The Karachi link is nothing new, authorities said. Taliban have been using the city as a logistical, financial and travel hub for years. Last year, police noticed a spike in Taliban-orchestrated bank robberies and kidnappings in the city.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Sindh conducted an operation in Sohrab Goth October 25th and arrested two suspected militants, Sher Rehman and Zainullah (aka Bilal or Zank).

The police seized various weapons from them.

Three others, Omer Farooq, Gul Zareen and Zahir Shah, escaped during a gun battle.

Rehman is a close associate of TTP leaders Hakimullah Mehsud and Qari Hussain, police said. They also hold him responsible for brainwashing innocent children for suicide bombings.

Salaam, would-be suicide bomber

Salaam was studying in Class IX at a school in Sohrab Goth.

"I met Zahir Shah last Ramadan at one of these schools/madrassas. He convinced me that Muslims globally are being subjected to brutality," Salaam told investigators.

The rhetoric includes talk of an afterlife. "As soon as I blow myself up, I will be in heaven and will get eternal peace," he said.

Salaam told media the TTP threatened to slaughter him if he refused to carry out a suicide attack. After a period of brainwashing, Salaam decided that he was ready to stage an attack.

"I discussed my sentiments with Rauf (another TTP leader), who convinced me to become a suicide bomber. I developed a resolve and had desire to head to Afghanistan to blow myself up at coalition soldiers," Salaam said.

"I conveyed my wish to Sher Rehman, too, who said he didn't have any contact person in Afghanistan, so instead of Afghanistan, I should go to South Waziristan, where I would be imparted further training."

Most meetings with TTP members occurred at night and in secluded places, Salaam said.

"Rehman had told me that if I was to disclose my relations with them, they will behead my family and me. After getting caught, however, I have realised that I was engaged in a vice," he said.

Turning children into live bombs

Terrorists are buying children and turning them into suicide bombers, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.

A suicide bomber's parents are paid between $6,000 and $30,000.

Suicide bombings have become a tragically frequent occurrence in Pakistan.

In 2010, 42 suicide attacks killed 1,024 people and injured more than 2,000. In Khyber Pakhtunkwa alone, 23 suicide attacks killed 444 people and injured 710.

At least 5,000 children ages 10 to 17 – with some as young as seven – have been trained as suicide bombers and more are waiting to strike, according to a report by the Pakistan Institute of Policy Studies.

The TTP runs several "suicide nurseries" in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas where trainers brainwash hundreds of children, Pakistani intelligence sources said. In January 2008, the military discovered a suicide nursery in the Spinkai area of South Waziristan.

From cradle to cell

Police found Salaam being prepared for a suicide attack, Omar Shahid, Senior Superintendent of Police of the CID in Sindh, told Central Asia Online. "He would have carried out an attack within a month or so," Omar said.

Police received information that some terrorists were hiding near Sohrab Goth and chalking "Jeay Taliban" (long live the Taliban) on walls, Omar said.

"The suspects disclosed during interrogation that they brainwashed Salaam into carrying out a suicide attack," Omar said. "They also revealed that they have slaughtered one of their accomplices, named Shahid, alias Raangar (on suspicion of being involved with the agencies)."

Police said that a preliminary investigation revealed that the arrested suspects, born near Manghopir, were involved in various crimes. They studied at a private institution in Nusrat Bhutto Colony until middle school, then joined the Jamia Rasheedia madrassa.

"The suspects worked for their associate organisation, Lashker-i-Jhangvi al-Alami," Omar said. "Rehman was tasked with visiting Waziristan to receive operational plans, and he would often meet with Qari Hussain, Baitullah Mehsud and other commanders of TTP, including Wahab Mehsud in South Waziristan, to share terror-related information."

"TTP Commander Miraaj ordered them to expand their network in Sohrab Goth and to commit a terrorist act in Punjab or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa," he added.

Javed Aziz Khan contributed to this report

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    فضل يوسف محمد

    2011-7-20

    The Taliban launches a lot of terrorist attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and through these attacks on innocent people, it is trying to attack and kill as many of them as possible, in order to scare people and to impose their control over the situation and to make the security situation there unstable, and to make the citizens lose their confidence in the security forces, to prove that they are unable to protect them. It always tries to aim at civilian targets and citizens. Therefore, those who work with this organization are a bunch of evil outlaws who do not believe in either a religion or laws, and do not fear the punishment of the Day of Resurrection, because one of the places that the Taliban attacks are the mosques and places of worshiping God, killing worshipers continually. As a result of these terrorist attacks by this movement, a lot of civilians and innocent people die. At the same time, they claim that they are working on serving the religion and the community and trying to recruit the largest possible number of reckless young people. They wish to take advantage of them in the implementation of those operations and to make them victims of the Taliban’s deviant ideas, thinking that committing suicide in this way is the fastest way to enter heaven, to join the companions of the Prophet, and to maintain the religion. This backward ideology certainly does not convince any rational person, who knows religion and what it provides for, but there are some reckless young people who do not have any knowledge of religion and its provisions and orders and, consequently, they are an easy prey for the Taliban and other terrorist movements. They exploit them to join this terrorist organization and brainwash every one of them, to get them involved in terrorist acts. Then they make them blow themselves up using the explosive belts or car bombs, and with other forbidden terrorist methods. God will judge those who commit these crimes and those who incite them, and those who influence those young people and lure them to carry out such crimes.

  • جمعة شوكت

    2010-12-9

    The recruiting of children by the Taliban shows that the Taliban is closely tied to al-Qaeda and works the same way as al-Qaeda, by training children and bringing them into the circle of terrorism, forgetting religion and its teachings, which command us to keep children away from danger and death and not to manipulate them.

  • اسعد رمالي

    2010-12-9

    The exploitation of children by the Taliban shows how infidel those villains are, and the extent of their addiction to crime in any form whatsoever. Recently, Taliban terrorist elements have carried out suicide attacks in Pakistan, by exploiting children and sending them to Pakistan to carry out suicide attacks there, to kill the largest possible number of civilians under the pretext of jihad and so on, using other reasons which, in their view, are convincing. I wonder what jihad this group is carrying out in the exploitation of children to kill innocent civilians. In my opinion, this is the peak of immorality, and it is contrary to religion and belief in God. It is disobedience to God’s orders, because they are destroying children as well as civilians.

  • مجدي شريف

    2010-12-9

    The Taliban movement stationed in Afghanistan is trying to destroy everything in Pakistan through all available means. It uses young people and women, and now it is using children, in an indication that the movement is one of the worst terrorist movements. It uses children by training them and bringing them into the world of terrorism by manipulating their minds, so as to achieve their malicious targets in Pakistan and spread destruction and corruption, and take control of the situation there.

  • جودت العراقي

    2010-12-9

    We used to watch all the negative things that float to the surface, caused by al-Qaeda and all those who deal and cooperate with it. Here is the terrorist Taliban, recruiting young children and involving them in its terrorist acts. They turn them into criminals, working with the terrorist organization, which uses them as live bombs to blow themselves up as suicide bombers in Pakistan; and this is what has happened between then and now. Therefore, I call for the protection of children from these villains, as the Taliban is abducting children and bringing them into its world of crime. They teach them the backward ideology of terrorism to turn them into criminals, terrorists and bombers, ready to explode at any time. Then they are used in their infidel terrorist operations; this contradicts religion, the law and the conscience.Is this being done by the terrorists in al-Qaeda or the Taliban?

  • سلمان الزياتي

    2010-12-9

    The criminal terrorists in the Taliban use children in their terrorist acts. They not only trick the young people and then put pressure on the women, but they have also moved to the children, this innocent world which is far away from these ideas, according to reason. But the Taliban and al-Qaeda do not care about anything, and the most important thing for them is to carry out their terrorist attacks. These children are still too immature to be thrown into these issues that they have nothing to do with. Then, they are exploited to carry out suicide attacks and bombings in Pakistan. They violate the doctrine, religious law, religion and civil law by these actions, which demonstrate the lowness of all the elements of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

  • معصوم جاسم

    2010-12-8

    What the Taliban does with the young people it has recruited is to threaten them if they refuse to blow themselves up. This indicates their criminal nature and the criminal acts they commit; and the fact that they recruit the youth to force them to harm people by blowing themselves up, in order to kill innocent people, who are not guilty of anything. Anyone who doesn't agree to participate in these criminal acts, because he knows the facts about them and their dangerous false principles, which are based on killing people and harming them with ugly methods, is killed. They kill anyone who does not agree to work with them, and this clarifies the facts about them, apart from the dishonesty they have engaged in while dealing with people. Also, this allows us to understand that all the claims they use to appeal to people are false; rather, they deal with criminal souls and in a drastic manner. Many young people have started to withdraw from collaborating with them, because they were able to find out the truth about them, but they were already involved with them and it had become too late to escape. In addition, there are the threats they face from the terrorist group that recruited them to commit these acts. These terrorist attacks were their only goal, and they desired to kill innocent people, who were victims of the drastic terrorists. Those criminal terrorists did all the bad things they could do, and expanded the corruption everywhere, using all the drastic methods they could use. They had no mercy, even for their own members, if they refused to cooperate, either due to fear of death or due to a revival of their conscience. They don't hesitate to kill anyone who is opposed to their plans, or anyone who may cause difficulties in executing these plans, which carry out the death of people, using any or all means.

  • شعيب اسماعيل

    2010-12-5

    The Taliban government is very weak, because they are exploiting innocent children and using them as human shields, to carry out their malicious terrorist acts by recruiting children, sending them to their enemy and blowing them up. But they do not know that the Pakistani Mujahideen will increase the strength of strikes on their government, because they know that children have no sin, and that this act is too serious. They will increase their steadfastness and insistence on fighting more and more. The Taliban government should work to educate children and increase their culture and give them the best education, so they can grow up and fend for themselves and their government, rather than recruiting them and making them commit suicide for its sake. Those are their malicious actions, because children are the adornment of life, if they ponder and consider how the Western countries deal with their children, knowing that they are not Muslims, and Islam is keen on the good treatment of these innocent people. In my view, this is a cowardly terrorist act, and it demonstrates the weakness of the state and its forces, and shows that they are only terrorist forces that kill and destroy everywhere.

  • هدى رفعت

    2010-12-5

    They are talking about terrorism, while they represent it. In fact, if it commits such acts, its enemy will respond in an unprecedented way, because the Pakistanis will never tolerate such acts, and they will rise up against them violently. In fact, instead of providing these children with a decent life, since it is claiming to be an Islamic movement, this cowardly movement is killing them.

  • هاشم صدر

    2010-12-5

    The Taliban’s acts are no more than terrorist acts, which are major crimes. In fact, the Taliban deserves to be burned, because it has ignored human morality and made use of children in order to achieve their filthy objectives, by exploiting children and their young age, by recruiting them to work with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, in order to carry out filthy suicide attacks against Pakistanis.

  • مروان سعد

    2010-12-5

    Such acts which the Taliban is carrying out prove the extent of the enormity, and the intellectual and moral dissolution of this organization. This also proves that this organization has nothing to do with Islam, which it claims to represent.

  • كاشف سعيد

    2010-12-5

    The Taliban’s recruiting of children and sending them as suicide bombers to Pakistan is a heinous and dangerous act that threatens the lives of these innocents, who have no sin except that they live in such fiery areas of wars and sectarian strife. What a cowardly terrorist act!

  • صلاح حسين

    2010-12-2

    The actions and activities of the Taliban government are one of the most horrible causes of the deterioration of security in the country. I do not know how this terrorist organization dares to commit these sadistic crimes against the helpless innocents, who are in urgent need of someone who could help them and open the doors of happiness before them. However, they speak about terrorism and the terrorists, while it is more harmful than terrorism itself. Why does the Taliban refrain from offering up its own children as sacrifices? Of course, they will never do that, and this makes us inquire why then should they use innocent children as human shields and fighters? This is enmity incarnate. I really wonder if this is the democracy that the West has brought to us. Does democracy enjoin us to make the children into suicide bombers to fight their enemies? In my opinion, the actions of the Taliban government are horrible terrorist crimes. Instead of killing the children, allow them to learn, and when they grow up, they will support you and fight with you like men. This is the least thing that you can do, and it will make your enemy leave you alone. These crimes strengthen the determination of your enemies to fight you, because they want to take their revenge upon you and to punish you for your crimes against those children. This is a cowardly act, and only inexperienced, weak and immoral people resort to it. We ask God to shield all the innocent children who are not guilty of anything other than being from this country or that one.

  • طاعت ضلوع

    2010-12-1

    The terrorist groups of the Taliban are recruiting children and turning them into human bombs. They send them out into crowds of people, in order to claim the lives of as many human beings as possible in Pakistan. This is, in fact, criminality.

  • فلاح خلدون

    2010-12-1

    Terrorist groups that recruit children are terrorists, criminals and extremely dangerous people. They must be eradicated once and for all, because they are criminals and terrorists, and they do not respect humanity. They lack human values; they have only animal instincts that only reflect murder and training in order to excel at the criminal acts which they are carrying out. In fact, they recruit young, innocent children, prepare and brainwash them so they will carry out suicide attacks and bombing acts. They are not human, because they are exploiting children; the adults have begun to recognize the criminal working strategies, after they have long exploited them by means of money and religion. They also have nothing to do with Islam, because they are terrorists and are devoid of principles of humanity that characterize normal people. In fact, recruiting children is a cowardly act; it is a sign of weakness and the lack of influence they have in terrorizing society. There is also division in their ranks. Indeed, they have long recruited many, in order to kill as many people as possible in all the Muslim countries, where they were scattered without any exception. Thus, they are terrorist criminal groups, and they called themselves Taliban. They live in Pakistan and have exploited children, to use them in murder and bombing acts among citizens, under the pretext of Jihad and under the umbrella of Islam, which is far away from them and from their crimes.

  • مسلم

    2010-12-1

    Islam teaches us peace and love and that killing human beings is prohibited, and that Muslims’ blood, money and honor are prohibited for other Muslims. As a matter of fact, it is prohibited to murder and carry out bombings. Thus, the works and bombing which are carried out by the terrorist Taliban movement are terrorist acts, and they must be halted immediately.

  • 2010-12-1

    There is no help but from God the Almighty.

  • زيد سعدون

    2010-11-30

    Is it permissible in any country to exploit the young age of children and their immaturity to deceive them and recruit them into such filthy groups as the Taliban and others? They actually make use of such children to be suicide bombers in Pakistan, so as to destabilize its security and stability. As far as I am concerned, I have never witnessed such filthiness in my life as the one carried out by the Taliban and al-Qaeda gangs. Over time, we noticed that even enemies possess at least some honor, conscience and do not make use of children in their battles. However, al-Qaeda and Taliban have exceeded all limits and customs through such acts, which undoubtedly prove that they are no more than monsters in human form. Indeed, they do not represent religion or humanity, but infidelity and Satan, whom they impersonate every day with such behaviors. You must give up assisting the Taliban and other criminal, murder and terrorist organizations. You are going to be held accountable for your deeds, since you are supporting murderers. Thus, you must repent and be sensible, because the recruiting and killing of children by the Taliban in Pakistan is strong proof of the lowliness of this backward, filthy movement.

  • شريف الكوبتي

    2010-11-30

    The Taliban government is carrying out a dreadful action against children by making them a prey for terrorism and terrorists in Pakistan. In fact, such an act is stronger and worse than those of the terrorist killers, because children are the adornment of life on earth. They are innocent and should never have become involved in the filthy game of terrorism. Thus, I wonder how this government managed to carry out such a thing. It is considered a heinous crime against these innocents. In fact, violence will never diminish, if the government does not put into effect continuous military plans which are assisted by an influential power, in order to help eradicate violence inside the country, so that Pakistanis will be able to live in safety and contentment. Besides, they must ensure a free and good life for children, grant them all their legitimate rights, and must not prevent them from getting an education, because that is the cornerstone of society. In addition, I want to know what those who support terrorist organizations, like the Taliban and al-Qaeda, say about such an ugly phenomenon carried out by criminal organizations, which consists of involving children in the game they are playing with these countries. Does religion or any divine or positive law allow this?

  • محمد هاشم

    2010-11-29

    The terrorist Taliban Movement seeks to destroy Pakistan in every possible way, and to spread chaos, murder and destruction, to cause unrest in the region and to control it. In the recent period, the Taliban movement has depended on the recruitment of children to work with it in Pakistan as suicide bombers. Those criminals do not consider the age of those children and their limited thinking. The Taliban exploits the children in its terrorist operations and instills the culture of terrorism, explosions, and terrorist operations in the minds of the children, to send them to death at this young age in this criminal way. They try to achieve evil purposes under the direction of Osama bin Laden, as we know that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are closely connected under the leadership of Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.

  • جميل شاكر

    2010-11-29

    It seems that the psychological destruction that al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the other terrorist organizations cause to the children through their crimes is not sufficient, because they try to instill terrorism and its thoughts in the minds of the children. In fact, the behaviors of those filthy villains made the whole world realize the danger of those dogs and their impure thoughts, which they try to spread all over the world. Is there anything more evil than exploiting naïve children in such acts? They use women, children, even animals and mentally retarded people, to avoid attracting attention. What kind of criminal minds and filthy thoughts do they have in the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the similar organizations? They all work in the same field of terrorism. We should not consider the acts of the terrorists strange, even if we saw worse acts, because they have no culture or conscience.

  • رامي الشامي

    2010-11-27

    If the Pakistani or any other government is really keen to stop having its people recruited by such terrorist organizations, it should provide them with suitable conditions, like employment, which would enable people to earn their living apart from these armed groups. People usually seek the help of these groups, by contacting them directly or by sending their children to have them recruited by them. Establishing appropriate schools and universities in the border areas would wipe out the illiteracy from which this population really suffers. A well-educated population is a good firewall against the efforts made by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban within the community.

  • رضوان عمر

    2010-11-27

    The terrorist organizations of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda have returned empty-handed after trying to find a place among the populations. The ideas they believe in and move upon are not acceptable to any person with a reasonable way of thinking, so we can see that Al-Qaeda is turning to other dirty methods to keep its operations as they have always been. For instance, it used some Pakistani children to commit suicidal attacks, after they had failed to recruit adults, after the facts about them had been exposed to the whole world. Children are still unaware of the facts of these terrorist organizations, so they're easily recruited and used for such operations. The absence of governmental efforts made the problem even worse.

  • رياض قحطاني

    2010-11-27

    If the Pakistani government had provided the children with proper educational and cultural programs to educate them about the danger of those organizations and the crimes they commit daily, it would have been able to stop al-Qaeda and the Taliban from recruiting children. Good observers can easily notice that these organizations are much more active in the borderline villages, like Waziristan and other villages. The people of these villages live in severe poverty and have no appropriate education; there is also widespread unemployment, which make the environment suitable for al-Qaeda and the Taliban to broadcast their ideas much more easily; just by providing those populations with their needs of money or education, through mosques or other.

  • سلوى عزير

    2010-11-27

    Paying special attention to the children is very fruitful and will provide us with an educated and cultured society that can cope with the other developed societies. Taking care of the children will protect the society in general from the danger of children being exploited by the terrorist acts of al-Qaeda and the criminal gangs.

  • رمزي طارق

    2010-11-27

    As for the recruitment of the children in Pakistan, I think that the government has to take care of the Pakistani people and block the way before the terrorists and their attempts to recruit the Pakistanis, by providing the people with proper services such as proper education and job opportunities which are, without a doubt, the least that a government should offer to its people. The governments must provide these services and solve the problems if they are serious in their attempts to block the way before al-Qaeda and prevent it from spreading its poisonous thoughts among the different social classes.

  • محمد العلياوي

    2010-11-26

    Terrorists from the Taliban are turning innocent children into criminals who mercilessly kill people for no reason. They push them to commit suicide, which is prohibited in our Islamic religion. In so doing, they are just killing children without mercy, and thus, brutally eradicating and annihilating future generations. They are turning innocents into terrorists and criminals who carry out acts of sabotage, suicide, bombing and killing with all brutality and ugliness.

  • علاء عبدالشكور

    2010-11-26

    What is happening in Pakistan is a violation of innocent children's rights. They are not aware of what they have been pushed to do, because they have been brainwashed, using religion and lured with money. They do not deserve to be treated this way. We should take care of them, and we should educate them correctly. We should let them have their childhood and not assign them adult responsibilities. We should not take advantage of their innocence and turn them into killers, shedding blood, causing massacres and booby-trapping themselves. Those who train them are taking advantage of their young age, because they will not be suspected when they carry out their atrocious and criminal operations. These children are just angels, so how could these criminals use them and persuade them to commit suicide, which is forbidden by God and considered one of the major sins? This is where the role of the parents comes in, who should supervise their children and convince them that such things are wrong. Parents should also warn their children against bad friends who might persuade them to join the terrorist Taliban.