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Taliban’s influence on child bombers in Pakistan

As we all know, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan is a terrorist organization that is responsible for thousands of deaths across the globe. The organization mainly recruits vulnerable groups who could be easily swayed into acting as suicide bombers as a part of their act of serving God. Among the many vulnerable groups, the organization recruits young children who are then trained and deployed for various military operations.


In 2012, Al Jazeera published an article titled "Pakistani Taliban's indoctrinated child bombers” which explores the tactics used by the organization to recruit and indoctrinate these children. Since then, there have been actions taken by various human rights foundations to protect these children. However, even now this problem persists as a huge problem near the Pakistan-Afghan border.


The primary reason behind this problem is recruitment drives carried out by the organization in poor and marginalized communities. These children do not have any idea about their rights as citizens of Pakistan but also are afraid to go and talk to the security forces for fear of them joining hands with the Taliban. Some of these children do not have anyone to provide for them and so are quite dependent on the organization to provide them with necessities such as food, water, and shelter. They are less likely to be suspected by security forces and are taught to be doing all of this so they could be ‘martyrs’ of Islam as they fight against tyranny. These children are conditioned to have an extremist ideology through religious indoctrination.


The use of young children as suicide bombers not only poses a serious human rights violation but also is a threat to the security in the region. But what has changed in the past decade despite knowing about this issue? Even if governments have established rehabilitation centers for former child soldiers to raise awareness of the issue, it continues to remain the same. The main question then is how can we make a difference?


To address this problem in Pakistan, it is very important to address the underlying causes of the problem. This includes addressing poverty and awareness in communities that are vulnerable to this organization. These groups not only need extra support when it comes to understanding their place as citizens of Pakistan but also need more security in public areas so they do not have to take any steps out of fear. More work needs to be done to identify and report potential suspicious behavior and leads in the area to stop the recruitment from scratch. Apart from awareness and support, they need to be provided with better educational facilities that are free of cost to give them better knowledge about right and wrong. Finally, the government needs to do more to rehabilitate former soldiers by giving them free education, vocational training, and psychological support.


With coordinated efforts from the government, civil society, and international community, Pakistan would be able to eliminate this problem for a better future.


https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2012/10/17/pakistani-talibans-indoctrinated-child-bombers





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Your emphasis on understanding and addressing the root causes of the problem, such as poverty and lack of awareness in vulnerable communities, is so so important. It's evident that a holistic approach is required which encompasses not only security measures but also initiatives to uplift these communities and provide them with the resources and education necessary for informed decision-making. Indeed, coordinated efforts from the government, civil society, and the international community are extremely important to eradicate this problem and pave the way for a better future.


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Thank you for shedding light on the critical issue of child recruitment by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and the persistent challenges in addressing this pressing concern. It is indeed disheartening to witness the continued exploitation of vulnerable children for such heinous acts.

As we reflect on the past decade, it's evident that despite awareness and some efforts, the issue persists. My question is: What role do you think the global community can play in supporting Pakistan's initiatives, and how can nations work together to eliminate the threat posed by such terrorist organizations and protect the rights of vulnerable children?

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Thank you for shedding light on this issue, Ayesha. It is pertinent to pay attention to why these children are so vulnerable to easy indoctrination by the Taliban. As you mentioned, these are poor and marginalised communities. In that case then, since the state is not doing much to provide them with brighter futures or educational facilities that could enlighten their economic prospects, the only viable solution that these people see is joining hands with the Taliban. It is then important for the government to consider their policies of development in the area, there must be plans to provide quality education to these people on an urgent basis so that they are aware of their rights legally as a Pakistani…

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I appreciate the perspective you have attempted to provide here. Rightfully, socioeconomic reasons are primary leading to the recruitment in militant forces, which includes Taliban as well as many other such groups worldwide.


However, I would also contend that that the socioeconomic aspect can be, at the maximum, one major cause here. Religion is the most important. I do not aim to blame religion or religious teachings here. However, if we genuinely aim to study the main cause here, that is the inherent belief of succeeding religion-wise. Taliban and similar forces are not the highest paying organisations. A safer bet could be getting enrolled in state military for such people if there is no role for religious perspectives and such…

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You’re right that investment in the education of these children is the way out.


It might sound counterintuitive. But including religion in their education could be an effective solution. Currently, the only proper education they seem to have had is a religious one. They understand the language of religion, and whatever they are taught as Islam clearly impacts their actions a lot.

The version of Islam they are taught is not accurate and highly manipulated for the personal gains of Taliban forces. It’s extremism and teaches violence. Whereas in reality, Islam has the very opposite ideals. Islam is all about moderation, condemning hate, spreading love, coexisting with non-Muslims, respecting other religions, and tolerance. Its sense of right and wrong is…


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