Counter-Terrorism: Suffer The Children For God


June 2,2008: Al Qaeda has adapted the African and Asian practice of recruiting "child soldiers." This system consists of kidnapping young (8-10 years old) male children and turning them into soldiers. This is largely possible because of the availability of cheap assault rifles (mostly AK-47s). These ten pound weapons require little maintenance, and are easy to use. Thus you can easily turn a kid into an effective killer. Those that refuse or prove incapable, are simply killed. The children are ignorant and easily indoctrinated. A dozen adults can control several hundred kids in this way. The child soldiers are inept and undisciplined, and usually flee when faced by trained soldiers. But if well led and disciplined soldiers are not present (very common in many parts of the world) the system works.

Al Qaeda is looking for suicide bombers, not gunmen, and has found that young tribal kids (10-14 years old) in Pakistan will believe some pretty strange stuff. For example, al Qaeda recruiters have been able to convince kids from madrasses (religious schools) that they can carry out a suicide attack that will not kill them. The recruiter alludes to some kind of magic, and the kid falls for it.

Meanwhile, Afghan police have caught some of these kids, who are brought over from Pakistan to carry out their attacks. There have also been some attacks using these kids, and these have usually been sloppy and ineffective. It's also been noted that sometimes the kids figure out that they're being fed lies, and try to get away (sometimes successfully).

Al Qaeda has been using child suicide bombers in Iraq as well, which has gotten a lot more publicity. Not that this hurts al Qaeda, which has, for the last few years, been one of the most hated and despised groups in the Moslem world.


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