KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (BNO NEWS) — A suicide bombing which injured five people in southern Afghanistan earlier this week was carried out by a child, the Australian Department of Defense said on Wednesday. The Taliban previously claimed responsibility for the attack.
The attack took place in the Chora District of Uruzgan province at around 2 p.m. local time on Monday as coalition service members were returning to a nearby patrol base following a Shura (consultation) with local community leaders. The suicide bombing wounded an Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) civilian, three coalition soldiers and an Afghan child.
Lieutenant General Ash Power, Chief of Joint Operations of the Australian Army, said the suicide bomber is believed to have been a child. “The deliberate use of children as suicide attackers in Afghanistan contravenes every law and has been universally condemned by ISAF, the Afghan Government, the United Nations and independent human rights groups yet the Taliban continue to act with little regard to rights of children and civilians,” he said.
It was not immediately clear how old the child suicide bomber was, but the attack comes after the recent detention of two would-be child suicide attackers in the Mirabad district of Helmand province. “Our focus is on ensuring the children of Afghanistan have a future – the Taliban is intent on taking that future from them through these callous acts,” Power said.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi previously claimed responsibility and said the attack was carried out by a resident identified as Abdur Rafi’, although he did not indicate it was a child who had carried out the bombing. “The attack took place when dozens of ISAF troops had gathered around their tanks after having lunch in the house of a local puppet official near the district center when a martyrdom-seeking Mujahid (Muslim fighter) of Islamic Emirate (Taliban) detonated his explosives vest in their midst,” he said on Monday.
The Taliban spokesman said Monday’s attack was carried out to avenge the acts by U.S. soldier Robert Bales, who allegedly went on a shooting spree in Kandahar province earlier this month, killing seventeen civilians as they slept in their homes. Several others were injured in the attack, which the Taliban condemned as an ‘act of genocide.’
“Local Mujahideen (Taliban) leaders say that this operation was carried out to avenge the 17 martyrs of Zangawat (Kandahar) who were brutally shot and then some burnt by the cowardly American terrorists in a night-time massacre a few days ago,” the Taliban spokesman said on Monday.
The Taliban have been accused of using child suicide bombers in the past, although the militant group has repeatedly denied that they use or target children as part of their attacks. However, children often fall victims in attacks carried out by the Taliban, and would-be child suicide bombers have repeatedly been detained.
In late July 2011, an 8-year-old Afghan boy was seriously injured when he was told by a suspected Taliban insurgent to step on an improvised explosive device (IED) in the Zhari District of Kandahar province. The boy was forced to have an amputation of the right leg below the knee and suffered a femur fracture.
The incident came just days after suspected members of the Taliban kidnapped an 8-year-old boy in the Greshk district of Helmand province. He was later hanged after his father, a local police commander, did not surrender as the Taliban had demanded.
And in May 2011, four civilians were killed and 12 others were injured when a 12-year-old suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded market in eastern Afghanistan.
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