Taliban using child soldiers on the battlefield: Paktia governor

Mohammad Halim Fedayee, governor of Paktia province, said Monday the Taliban is using children in a conflict capacity on the battlefields – which is in violation of Islamic principles and international rules of war.

According to Fedayee, the insurgent group is using children as suicide bombers and to carry explosives, among other conflict-based activities.

“In the opponents ranks, children have been used in suicide attacks, as you see. In transferring explosives. It is not the ethics of war,” said Fedayee.

Members of the Paktia provincial council said not only are the Taliban using children in a military capacity, but so is the Afghan government.

According to the provincial council members, Taliban is however also using children as drug mules.

The council members in turn called on government to provide work opportunities for children in the province.

“Unfortunately the government does not have any policy for children and orphans who need to work.” said Mohammad Rahman, a member of the provincial council.

“I call on the opponents to not use children and not send children onto the battlefield, because the children are our future,” said Janat Khan, a provincial council member.

“I call on both sides – government and Taliban – to not use children for military purposes,” said Janat Gul Mangal, a tribal elder.

The provincial office of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said that although they do not operate in Taliban controlled areas, they are aware of children having been arrested in connection with the planting of IEDs.

Taliban however rejected the claims and said the group does not use children for military purposes.