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Whether the increase in suicide attacks is a sign of desperation or not, the reality is that the vast majority of the bombings continue to be made by the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, as children make particularly good suicide terror candidates, they remain the Islamists’ favorite choice of human explosive.
According to a report by the Joint Intelligence Group at Guantanamo, child suicide bombers “are more willing to martyr themselves due to their lack of reasoning on taking innocent lives.” That willingness to die is of course exploited by the militants through a variety of ways, including desensitization and brainwashing. As one Afghan official has noted, “They are made to watch video films, showing physical torture and killing of Muslims women and children …by what they call infidels.”
Like their adult compatriots, juvenile bombers are told that the rewards for performing such deadly deeds are great. One captured suicide bomber said he was told by his instructors that as a good Muslim he had a duty to defend Islam and that “as soon as I blow myself up, I will be in heaven and will get eternal peace.” Even the fact that a bomber may kill another child is justified by the Islamic trainers, who argue that those killed are “non-believers or children of non-believers.”
Still, despite the indoctrination, most suicide recruits are not trusted to complete their deadly tasks on their own. That is why the terrorist trainers ensure that most recruits are accompanied to their targets by a handler who leaves them to detonate their explosives. For those who display a change of heart in the process, the terrorists rely on the threat and use of violence to ensure compliance.
As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton has said, the terrorists “purposely inflict violence on children to strike fear in those who oppose them.” That need to resort to violence to guarantee obedience comes from the fact that many recruits don’t come to the jihad willingly, but are the victims of kidnapping by the terrorists.
Willing or not, a suicide recruit remains a highly valued product. In fact, the sale of recruits has become a very lucrative business. The Taliban alone have reportedly been buying children as young as seven. As one Afghan official stated, “The ongoing price for child bombers has been fixed at $ 7,000 to $ 14,000; the price depends on how quickly the bomber is needed and how close the child is expected to get to the target.”
While 90 percent of the trained bombers are estimated to have been used in Afghanistan, it has been reported that 5,000 Pakistani children have received training on suicide bombing for use in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s interior minister claimed that of the 2,488 incidents of terrorism in Pakistan in the last two years — which claimed the lives of 3,169 people — most were the result of suicide bombings conducted by underage terrorists. The most recent attack came in April when two young suicide bombers struck a Pakistani shrine that killed 50 worshippers and wounded more than 100.
Of course, the fact Islamist militants would continue to use children in such a grotesque manner comes as little surprise. After all, these same terror groups have used children with Down syndrome and mentally impaired women as suicide bombers in the past.
So, in a world where underage suicide bombers are referred to by their terrorist handlers as “weapons of mass destruction or atom bombs,” and where children play a game called suicide bomber with the frequency American children play tag, it’s understandable that they will continue to be preyed upon by their malevolent elders.
Frank Crimi is a writer living in San Diego, California. You can read more of Frank’s work at his blog, www.politicallyunbalanced.com.
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