It’s no secret that militants often try to lure young boys into becoming suicide bombers, but now more anecdotal evidence is emerging that shows that the insurgents are drugging and paying off the youths.
Take the case of Bilal, for example. The 13-year-old from Qambarkhel, Bara Tehsil, was arrested near Peshawar November 20 after Bomb Disposal Squad personnel removed a bomb-laden jacket from him.
His alleged handler, Jehangir, a Momin Town schoolteacher, was also nabbed as police say the two were riding a motorbike together on their way to commit a terror attack.
Bilal November 21 told the court that Jehangir offered him Rs. 15,000 (US $156) to commit the bombing.
Or take the case of three boys in Lakki Marwat who were being taken to Waziristan for terror training. Their alleged handler was also arrested.
"All of these youngsters were drugged, … as their medical tests have proved," Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told Central Asia Online.
Paksitani officials decided to test the boys for drugs because when authorities examined Bilal after removing the suicide vest, he seemed to be semi-conscious, said Bomb Disposal Squad Assistant Inspector General of Police Shafqat Malik.
"I think it might be a routine to give some injections or drugs to the suicide bomber so he could not back off at the last movement," he said.
And, as evidenced by the arrests of the alleged handlers in those cases, it seems as if authorities are trying to take a more proactive approach to solving the
In a typical scenario, a suicide-bombing mission requires three key players: the amir (boss), the rahbar (handler) and the fidayee (suicide bomber), Mukarram Khurrasani, a TTP spokesman, told Central Asia Online.
"But the rahbar is the key to success," he said. "He is entrusted with identifying the target, providing the logistics and carrying the fidayee to the target."
The Taliban use drugs and resort to other such tactics to ensure that the bomber doesn’t back out of the mission. But the trend is adding more fuel to the fire in terms of resentment toward the militants and the tactics they use to commit their attacks.
"The recruiters and people motivating kids for suicide attacks are perhaps the most hated and condemned; in our religion and social set-up, there is no justification to call them even human beings," KP Governor Masud Kausar told Central Asia Online. "They deserve no mercy, but we can’t become barbarians as they have."
"What kind of people are they?" he asked of those who turn 13-year-olds into suicide bombers. "(They’re) bringing a bad name to Islam."
Police are interrogating a number of suspected handlers and recruiters in an effort to break up the network that is recruiting children to commit such inhuman acts, he said.
"These kids are innocent, and the government is trying to ... provide better education and technical skills to youngsters to keep them out of such hands," Kausar told Central Asia Online.
"They’re not aliens," KP Senior Minister Bashir Bilour told Central Asia Online about the handlers. "But they’re barbaric. ... [They’re] causing great damage not only to Islam but also to the future Pakistani generation."
"We can’t be lenient with anyone who is using our kids as fuel for this fire," he added. "They will... be given an exemplary ending as they’re luring our future generation to a death in ignorance."
The militants are running out of trained handlers and colliding into heightened security measures, he said, contending those effects enable security agencies to thwart most suicide missions now, he said.
Misguided religious fanaticism, adult coercion, family and social pressures, poverty and poor education help terrorists find young suicide recruits, most analysts say.
In the Lakki Marwat case, the boys told the magistrate that their alleged handler, a Karachi seminary student identified as Niaz, promised them riches in heaven, which was enough of a lure to make them travel from Karachi. The court freed the boys December 1, and Niaz is being sought.
Yahya was the alleged handler arrested in the case. Yahya told police that a man named Nooli in Karachi paid him Rs. 5,000 (US $52) to transport the boys to Bannu for a further journey to Miranshah, agency headquarters of North Waziristan, local police officer Amir Muhammad told Central Asia Online.
Recruiters and handlers need to be dealt with urgently, many parents, human rights activists and legislators say.
Lahore resident Hafiz Sayed Raza Ali's teenage brother has been missing for three months and unverifiable reports say he might have been taken to Waziristan.
"We had been searching for him and had registered a police case but still no luck," he told Central Asia Online.
"It’s inhuman ... brutal to use children as fuel for war. If (those adults) are so brave and wish to gain martyrdom, why don’t they come forward and fight?" asked Hidyatullah from Khyber Agency, whose brother was killed in the suicide bombing of a mosque in Jamrud in March 2009. "We’re ready to take them on but not this way."
"The people who are training and motivating children to go for such violent acts are doing the worst form of terrorism against humanity," he said, "Our near and dear ones have gone, but we shall pray others don’t die."
Women and children are easy to lure into terrorism because they have less education and experience, said Qamar Nasim, co-ordinator of End Violence Against Women and Girls. "The militants can easily use them for their designs."
Pakistan needs to pass and enforce strict laws to punish the reprehensible users of children in suicide bombings, she said. http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/features/pakistan/main/2012/12/04/feature-01