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Agnostic Muslim
15 Jul 13,, 18:27
Bomber boys of Balochistan: Kids as young as 11 held over insurgent attacks in Pakistan

Mujeeb Ahmed / NBC News

QUETTA, Pakistan - In Pakistan's conflict-torn Balochistan, boys as young as 11 are being paid $20 to carry out bomb attacks by a militant separatist group that's been fighting the government for years.

Pakistani authorities discovered a network of child bombers after a 14-year-old was caught with a bomb in a shopping bag in March in Balochistan, a resource-rich province bordering Iran that has been wracked by violence for decades.

The boy, Sabir, who was only identified by his first name, was apologetic and asked for forgiveness after he was caught.

But others are defiant. Saddam Lehri, also 14, lost a leg after a bomb he planted in the grounds of a small, private hospital in the city of Quetta went off earlier than he expected. The blast last month injured another 17 people.

“I know very well I was planting a bomb and it's dangerous, but it is necessary for an independent Baloch motherland,” he said. “We are in a war. I have no regret that I lost my leg. My life is for a free country.”

Saddam Lehri, 14, lost a leg after a bomb he planted in the grounds of a small, private hospital in the city of Quetta went off earlier than he expected. The blast last month injured another 17 people.

All admitted to planting bombs and said they were paid 2,000 rupees (roughly $20) for each "successful" bomb attack. Police said they have been able to link 14 attacks in the past four months to this group of boys.

The adults in the house – believed to be the boys' handlers – escaped after a firefight.

"Baloch militant groups are now using children to explode their bombs," Quetta City Police Chief Mir Zubair Mehmood said. "All these children are from poor families, and all have confessed that they were involved in planting bombs around Quetta."

Pakistani police -- not known for displaying particular sensitivity when it comes to cases involving children -- paraded the gang of boys before the media after the raids.

They stood quietly while photographers jockeyed for position and camera flashes popped. The younger boys took in the scene, wide-eyed. Some of the older boys crossed their arms and waited for the spectacle to finish.

Sabir spoke haltingly, hands clasped in his lap, head lowered, refusing to make eye contact.

He asked for forgiveness, acknowledging his actions had hurt and killed people.

He said planting bombs was not about the money. His father, a police officer posted for long stretches away from his family, earns a good living. Sabir is the oldest of six children, three boys and three girls. All attend school.

He said he was also not motivated by the hashish -- supplied by their handlers -- that he said many of the boys used regularly.

Instead, he made repeated references to the Baloch motherland, the struggle for independence, and "the war" against Pakistani government forces.

"My close relative Naseer Bungalzai is fighting against the Pakistan Army and lives in the Qabo mountains. He inspired me to fight for the Baloch motherland," Sabir said. "He also helped me to meet a militant commander, Shoaib, who lives in Kili Geo, Quetta."

Sabir said Shoaib had trained him how to set timers on the bombs, carry them in nondescript shopping bags, and plant them as close as possible to potential targets.

"When I was fully trained, Shoaib gave me a bomb, and told me to leave it in Wahdat Colony near a police post. I left it near a house wall," Sabir said. "The time was set for 9:15. I left the site at 9:05 and after 10 minutes, the blast went off."

According to news reports from the time, four people were injured in that attack in Quetta on Dec. 8.

Authorities say Shoaib, believed to be in his mid-30s, is affiliated with the United Baloch Army, one of several separatist groups operating in the region.

Another similar group – the Balochistan Liberation Army – earlier this month claimed responsibility for a devastating grenade-gun-and-IED attack on one of the historic residences of Pakistan's late founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The Pakistan flag atop the building was burned in the attack, and replaced with the BLA's.

Experts say young boys growing up in Balochistan – long underfunded and underdeveloped by Pakistan's federal government -- are increasingly vulnerable to recruitment by separatist organizations.

Security forces have been accused in recent years of carrying out a string of kidnappings and brutal murders of local men, the vast majority of which are not investigated.

Jalal Faiz, originally from Balochistan, recently conducted field research across the province as part of his doctorate at the University of Westminster in England.

He said students in Balochistan “think their culture, their language, their history” is overlooked in high school.

"They grow up believing the state does not care about them, that the state wants to control them, that the state does not consider them as equals,” Faiz said. "Even if they aren't actively doing something to support it, they all support the Baloch independence movement."

Daanish Mustafa, an associate professor at Kings College London who spent years conducting research in rural Balochistan, which is home to 70 percent of the province's population, said part of the problem was a breakdown of the traditional Baloch way of life and the failure of the state to fill the void.

He said communities were falling apart, leading to a militant form of juvenile delinquency.

"The separatist movement has been there for the longest time," Mustafa said.

"There used to be a set of moderating influences on children," he added. "You remove those, the social constraints – not just parents and family but a society where everyone was dependent on each other – you break it apart and now you have these sort of autonomous family units. And then you expect these young men to not get up to trouble?"

Bomber boys of Balochistan: Kids as young as 11 held over insurgent attacks in Pakistan - World News (http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/13/19415978-bomber-boys-of-balochistan-kids-as-young-as-11-held-over-insurgent-attacks-in-pakistan?lite)
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Doktor
15 Jul 13,, 21:31
http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/international-defense-terrorism-topics/63924-little-commandos-kindergarten-pakistan.html

There is certainly a pattern. One has to wonder, are there schools in Pakistan?

1980s
18 Jul 13,, 01:31
A grim development indeed. Pakistan has clearly failed the Baloch people. That criminals, rebels and terrorists run amok over there is an indictment on that failure, not to mention the attitude of even Baloch children towards the state of Pakistan and now the preparedness of some of them to kill to rid themselves of it.


http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/international-defense-terrorism-topics/63924-little-commandos-kindergarten-pakistan.html

There is certainly a pattern. One has to wonder, are there schools in Pakistan?

Or you could say, one has to wonder, why is there a Pakistan? Its own citizens regularly mass murder each other in terrorist attacks and kill each other over religion and/or ethnicity, dont pay taxes (less than 1% of Pakistanis pay any income tax) dont even believe in the state that they live in hence situations like children joining rebel groups or the Taliban etc etc

Double Edge
18 Jul 13,, 16:54
Daanish Mustafa, an associate professor at Kings College London who spent years conducting research in rural Balochistan, which is home to 70 percent of the province's population, said part of the problem was a breakdown of the traditional Baloch way of life and the failure of the state to fill the void.

He said communities were falling apart, leading to a militant form of juvenile delinquency.

"The separatist movement has been there for the longest time," Mustafa said.

"There used to be a set of moderating influences on children," he added. "You remove those, the social constraints – not just parents and family but a society where everyone was dependent on each other – you break it apart and now you have these sort of autonomous family units. And then you expect these young men to not get up to trouble?"
Same thing is happening in the tribal areas. First the elders get killed so there goes the reservoir of knowledge, next is the mullahs whose job is to mediate between groups and then the militants take over and set the tone.

DonBelt
19 Jul 13,, 15:40
Wait- is this America we're talking about? It seems that it is the same in all cultures- if you take away the social structures that people live in that limit behavior, provide moral direction, etc, like churches, families, social hierarchies, civic associations, and political groups, you degenerate to lord of the flies. Doesn't it happen in our urban areas, and isn't it spreading to suburban and rural too? When people ask what role does religion play or families play, this is it. To provide some kind of stability and moral/social compass. When that is taken away, reason doesn't take over- the race to the lowest common denominator does.

Tronic
19 Jul 13,, 22:58
Wait- is this America we're talking about? It seems that it is the same in all cultures- if you take away the social structures that people live in that limit behavior, provide moral direction, etc, like churches, families, social hierarchies, civic associations, and political groups, you degenerate to lord of the flies. Doesn't it happen in our urban areas, and isn't it spreading to suburban and rural too? When people ask what role does religion play or families play, this is it. To provide some kind of stability and moral/social compass. When that is taken away, reason doesn't take over- the race to the lowest common denominator does.

I don't think your example works if the violence is politically, socially, and/or religiously sanctioned...

As for 'Lord of the flies', I've learned far too much about 'realpolitik' here on WAB to think that the world isn't just that..

Double Edge
20 Jul 13,, 16:05
I don't think your example works if the violence is politically, socially, and/or religiously sanctioned...
Once the mullahs are out of the picture religion goes away. Once the elders are gone the social is gone too.

There is just power and a ready source of labour that is yours for whatever you want to use it for.