Explosions. Debris. A long list of casualties. This is what comes to mind when I read a headline stating the number of deaths from recent suicide bombers attacks in Afghanistan. But what I don't think about is who the suicide bomber was as a person. Why would I? Twenty more people died because this one person decided that their cause was more important than the lives of innocent passerby.
It wasn't until I watched the video above (video by NATO) that another side of the Taliban conflict in Afghanistan was brought to light: children are being recruited as suicide bombers and fighters. In the video, the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is meeting with several boys who escaped from the Taliban after being recruited or abducted. It's hard to fathom that children are ever forced into combat, but history shows that it continues to happen throughout the world, most notably in Sudan, Chad, and in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.In Afghanistan, hundreds of children are kidnapped, manipulated, or given falsified identification stating that they are eighteen years old every year.
What would you do if you were put in that position? Would you run and risk being killed by the Taliban? What if you forced to kill ? You or I will probably never have to experience such a terror.
One story from the video definitely stuck in my brain. One of the teens speaks up about how he was told that the amulet (a detonator) he was given had a holy message inside that would "protect" him when it was detonated. Wow.
There is some good news for the children of Afghanistan. A year ago this month, the Afghan government and the UN agreed on a nationwide campaign to stop recruiting children under the age of 18 in combat. The Afghan police and the UN hope that this campaign along with education of the youth is the solution.
Whatever the solution may be, bringing innocent children into a conflict they have no control over is outrageous. The next headline I read about a suicide bomber will make me wonder if yet another child forced to be the suicide bomber.
Not everyone signs up to die.