Child Suicide Bomber Targets Patrol and Aid Workers in Afghanistan
Apr 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm
On March 26, a "clean and washed" young boy blew himself up in a suicide-homicide bomb attack on International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and humanitarian aid workers.
David Savage, a 49-year old AusAID worker, was closest to the child when the bomb detonated. This attack marks the first time an Australian civilian has been injured in the Afghan conflict. An Afghan child, in addition to the bomber, was injured in the atrocity.
"If he had of walked up to me I would have had a handful of candy for him, he didn't seem like he was under duress," said United States Navy Lieutenant Matthew Baird, the officer in charge of the attacked patrol group.
"Our focus is on ensuring the children of Afghanistan have a future – the Taliban is intent on taking that future from them through these callous acts," said Lieutenant General Power, the Chief of Joint Operations of the Australian military. "The deliberate use of children as suicide attackers in Afghanistan contravenes every law and has been universally condemned by ISAF, the Afghan Government, the United Nations and independent human rights groups, yet the Taliban continue to act with little regard to rights of children and civilians."
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing, calling it "revenge" for U.S. Staff Sergeant Robert Bales'alleged "massacre" of 17 Afghan civilians, including nine children. Bales has been charged by the U.S. Government with 17 counts of premeditated murder. If found guilty, he faces the death penalty, with a minimum penalty of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.
There is no justification – religious, political, moral, or otherwise – for killing innocent children. Child suicide bombing is the product of adults acting with a reprehensible indifference to human life and with a calculated intent to kill innocent children. The Children's Rights Institute (CRI) continues to track this phenomenon.
Regardless of the motive for revenge, the Taliban has a history of systematically recruiting child suicide bombers. In 2007, they recruited a 6-year old Afghan boy by telling him the explosive belt would spray flowers. An 8-year old girl unknowingly carried a remotely detonated bomb toward a police vehicle in 2011, and 13-year old boys were used in 2008, 2009, and 2011. CRI calls upon the international community to condemn the latest attack as well as the Taliban's continued violence against children.