Child suicide bombers from Afghanistan say they were led to believe their bombs would obliterate only the infidel Americans and spare those executing the mission.
In a shocking account, Abdul Samat, 13, - who realized at the last moment he may also die if he carried out the attack on his target, the Afghan city of Kandahar - said he abandoned the mission and began to cry, seeking help to get rid of the explosives attached to his vest.
I began to cry and shout, Samat told Afghan security officials, reported the Telegraph. People came out of their houses and asked what was wrong. I showed them I had something in my vest. Then they were scared too and called the police who took the bombs off me, he added.
Samat was spotted by the Taliban on the streets of Quetta in Pakistan. They led him to believe the mission was as simple as touching two wires together and the resulting blast would obliterate only the Americans. He believed his recruiters and expected to return safe.
Afghan security officials said the Taliban used child suicide bombers because it was easier for children to get past security checkpoints. According to official estimates, about 100 children had been intercepted while on suicide missions in the region, last year.
The worst part is that these children don't think that they are killing themselves, a senior Afghan intelligence official was quoted as saying by the Telegraph. They are often given an amulet containing Koranic verses. Mullahs tell them, 'When this explodes you will survive and God will help you survive the fire. Only the infidels will be killed, you will be saved and your parents will go to paradise', he added.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a coalition military force in Afghanistan, claimed in 2007 that children as young as 6 were being used by the Taliban in suicide missions. Many of the child bombers didn't even know they were on a mission to detonate explosives.
Captain Michael Cormier, the company commander who intercepted a 6-year-old suicide bomber, said in a statement in 2007: They placed explosives on a six-year-old boy and told him to walk up to the Afghan police or army and push the button. Fortunately, the boy did not understand and asked patrolling officers why he had this vest on. The vest was defused and no one was hurt.
The U.S. Defense Department and Pakistani officials said in 2009 that the Taliban was buying children at a price of $7,000 to $14,000 per child. The children are often bartered between different extremist groups operating in the region.