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Militants use holy places to recruit children as suicide bombers, government officials say
By Farzad Lameh
KABUL – Taliban militants have begun using mosques and children to plan and carry out suicide attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in Afghanistan, officials said.
“In many cases the Taliban are even recruiting people for suicide attacks in mosques,” Daoud Ahmadi, spokesman for Helmand Provincial Governor Gulab Mangal, told Central Asia Online.
“We are seriously (watching) this issue, and we will bring to justice those who are taking advantage of holy places for their brutal actions,” Ahmadi added.
Afghan religious scholars have condemned the use of mosques for any attack that takes life.
“This is not Islam,” Mulvi Kawsar in Kabul said. “The mosque is a place where people worship God, not to organise attacks against innocent people.” “This is not Islam,” Mulvi Kawsar in Kabul said. “The mosque is a place where people worship God, not to organise attacks against innocent people.”
“They (those who use children as suicide bombers) are killers, because children do not know what they are going to do,” Kawsar added.
“We have to guide children down the right path, not to kill them for any inhuman and un-Islamic objective,” Muhammad Ayaz, professor of Islamic law at Kabul University, said.
“A suicide attack is seriously prohibited by Islam, whether a child is carrying it out – or anyone else. But those persuading children to do so are not Muslims,” Ayaz added. “According to Islamic rules, women and children should be respected in war.”
Kunduz governor killed in mosque attack
Last October, Engineer Omar, the Kunduz provincial governor, was killed in a mosque bombing in Takhar Province. The Taliban later claimed responsibility.
In early February, the Afghan intelligence service also accused the Taliban of using mosques in their attacks.
Earlier local officials in the southern province of Uruzgan had said that after al-Qaeda-linked militants were driven out from Gizab District, they set fire to a mosque and burned dozens of copies of the Koran.
Last November, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education reported the destruction of nearly 850 copies of the Koran and other holy books after unknown gunmen set fire to a girls’ school in the eastern province of Laghman. While no one claimed responsibility, Afghan officials accuse the Taliban.
The UN has repeatedly condemned the increasing number of suicide bombings that use Afghan children as bombers or target them.
Afghan and coalition forces have also accused the Taliban of intentionally living and fighting in residential areas and using civilians as human shields, especially when government forces are surrounding them.