Child abuse in Afghanistan...
Just when you think you've seen how low people can go...
A 12-year-old boy caught in the act Friday as he put a homemade bomb under a road in the volatile Zhari District grabbed a baby as a human shield to protect himself from attack from the United States helicopter that spotted him.Hat tip: Terry Glavin's blog, which is a must-read site. Terry knows more about Afghanistan than almost anybody else in the country.
The incident, in an area where U.S. forces operate under Canadian command, appears to be part of a Taliban strategy to use youngsters as lookouts or human shields, or to carry out attacks, because they know NATO rules of engagement make troops extremely reluctant to open fire in such situations.
There have been 29 incidents in which children have helped commit attacks or otherwise abetted the Taliban in Afghanistan's four southern provinces since March, according to a document provided by the Canadian military. Eight of the incidents have taken place this month.
Among them were three blasts in Kandahar in the past few weeks in which as many as 12 Afghan children were blown up as they were being taught how to make or place improvised explosive devices - the greatest killer of coalition troops in Afghanistan.
"The Taliban are obviously manipulating children and using them as cannon fodder," said Major Robert Dunn of Ottawa, who oversees operations in southern and western Kandahar.
"There is one place west of Kandahar City where they shoot at us every day through a shield of children. They actually stack them up, with
8-year-olds at the front and 15-year-olds at the back."