Pakistan 'Rescues' Child Soldiers
Pakistan military working in the Swat Valley have rescued child soldiers held by the Taliban. It appears that they were being groomed as child soldiers and as suicide bombers by the Taliban.
They have been brainwashed and trained as suicide bombers, but the nine who I met seemed willing to get back to normal life," Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed, who heads a special support group tasked with handling the return of people displaced in the Swat Valley and surrounding areas, told Pakistani state-run television.
"It seems that there are some 300 to 400 such children who the Taliban had taken forcibly or who they were training," Ahmed said.
Some of the abducted children who range in age from six to 15 years of age have been returned home after being indoctrinated in the Taliban way of life.
The problem of child abductions and brainwashing is more widespread than just the Swat Valley. Other juristictions are reporting kidnapping of young boys as well.
Fakhar Rehman, a political and defence analyst, told Al Jazeera that there are reports registered by the police about other abductions, "not only in Swat but also in North and South Waziristan.
Child soldiers are increasingly seen in armed conflicts. International agreements have been signed by many nations to prohibit the participation of those under the age of 18 in armed conflicts. In many cases this has been ignored. Child soldiers perform a variety of tasks to support an army whether formal or rebel. For nations whose citizens have been harmed by child soldiers it is difficult to justify to the population that the child soldier should be treated as a victim firstly. In the conflict in Afghanistan the capture and imprisonment of 'enemy combatents' in Guantanamo Prison has along with adult combatents, swept up those young enough to be classified as child soldiers. For Canadians, the most notable child soldier currently in Guantanamo Prison is Omar Khadr who was 15 years old at the time of his capture.