Writing at the Guardian, Karen McVeigh says that there is burgeoning outrage over army Lt Col Marion Carrington’s recent statement to the Military Times that troops assisting Afghan police forces were on the lookout for “children with potential hostile intent”. (my bolds throughout)
… Carrington told the Marine Corp Times that children, as well as “military-age males”, had been identified as a potential threat because some were being used by the Taliban to assist in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.
“It kind of opens our aperture,” said Carrington, whose unit, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was assisting the Afghan police. “In addition to looking for military-age males, it’s looking for children with potential hostile intent.”
Another unnamed ‘Marine official’ questioned the original New York Times account of three children, Borjan, 12, Sardar Wali, 10, and Khan Bibi, 8, from Helmand province in October, as having been gathering dung for fuel as they were killed by a drone rocket strike.
However, the US official claimed that, before they called for the strike on suspected insurgents planting improvised explosive devices, marines had seen the children digging a hole in a dirt road and that “the Taliban may have recruited the children to carry out the mission”.
Well, digging holes; there you have it: iron-clad innuendo, eh? Worth killing with impunity.
McVeigh links to Human Rights Watch, ‘Taliban Should Stop Using Children as Suicide Bombers’ which says that evidence belies Mullah Omar’s pledge to protect women and children.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has collected evidence that the Taliban has been recruiting children ages 11 through 17 to carry out activities including armed combat, planting improvised explosive devices, and smuggling weapons across the Pakistan-Afghan border. The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission confirms increasing use by the Taliban of child suicide bombers. The Afghan government has reported that as many as 100 children who were recruited as suicide bombers by the Taliban are in the custody of the National Directorate of Security.