Archive for February 2011
When Mohammad Ehsar, 14, heard that American soldiers had killed his teacher during a military operation, all he could think about was revenge.
The soldiers raided the home of cleric Mawlawi Hazrat Muhammad last September. Muhammad, who was believed to be organising attacks on Nato targets, was shot. Ehsar was told that the Americans also slit his throat.
The youngster revered Muhammad, the chief cleric at his madrasah (religious school), who made clothes for poor pupils and brought food from his home.
On the night he learnt of his teacher’s death, Ehsar and five fellow pupils slipped out of their madrasah carrying two crudely made bombs wrapped in shawls.
They marched for two hours until they reached a dirt track. As the rest of the group kept watch, Ehsar dug the bombs into the earth with a shovel and unravelled some wires that would connect them to a motorcycle battery hidden on the far side of a nearby hill.
His job complete, Ehsar and two of his companions returned to the madrasah. The other boys spent the night lying in wait. At dawn, as an American convoy rumbled past, they connected the wires to the battery to detonate their bombs.
One of these improvised explosive devices (IEDs) turned out to be useless but the other exploded, tearing through the armoured chassis of the second vehicle in the convoy.
“It felt good to know we had killed the infidels,” Ehsar said. “It felt good to take revenge.”
Despite an edict banning the recruitment of children, Taliban commanders use boys as mine-layers, scouts and even suicide bombers, according to human rights groups.
Rachel Reid, of Human Rights Watch, said: “They are brainwashing young boys to be suicide bombers and forcing kids to lay mines, knowing that their opponents have higher regard for the laws of war than they do.”
Last year, Ehsar’s father, who ekes out a living growing vegetables, sent his son to a madrasah in Ghazni province’s notoriously volatile Andar district. He wanted him to receive an Islamic education and to learn the way of jihad (holy war). Read the rest of this entry »
The prisoners placed a skullcap on Said Musa’s head and mockingly called him Jesus Christ as he languished for month after month in one of Kabul’s squalid prisons.
Fellow inmates and prison guards alike beat him with wooden sticks, kicked him, punched him and spat in his face. Musa also accuses them of sexually abusing him.
His crime? Converting to Christianity, for which he faces the death penalty if convicted.
Surly prison guards and secret service agents surrounded Musa, 45, when I met him at a detention centre in Kabul’s police headquarters last week. Read the rest of this entry »