(Newsroom America) -- The Taliban are increasingly using children as suicide bombers, especially in eastern Afghanistan, as the group seeks to escalate attacks against U.S. and NATO forces, a report said Monday.
The National Journal said one of the most recent attacks involved a 12-year-old boy who detonated a suicide vest in a crowded market in Paktika province last month in an attack that left four people dead, including a high-ranking local Afghan official, and dozens of others wounded.
In May, Afghan authorities arrested a 9-year-old boy and two others while attempting to cross into Afghanistan from Pakistan, the report said, quoting an unnamed Interior Ministry official. All three boys, under the age of 14, told Afghan authorities they had been sent into the country to conduct suicide attacks, the official said.
The official said about two dozens boys who were sent to conduct similar attacks have been detained, National Journal said.
The use of children is a dangerous escalation of the war in Afghanistan, now in its tenth year, the report said, noting that the Taliban have found it easier to convince impressionable young boys into committing the attacks either by persuasion or by threatening them and their families.
Maj. Gen. Dan Allyn told the Journal the Taliban is increasing its use of both children and females in suicide bombings in an attempt to roll back gains made in recent months by U.S. and NATO forces.
"We’re seeing a much more ruthless attack against the population of Afghanistan by the insurgent groups, including a willingness to use children and women as suicide bombers, which is new for Afghanistan," Allyn said, according to the Journal.
"It’s a sign of their fairly desperate attempts to hold on to their last strongholds and destabilize the areas around Kabul," said the Regional Command-East commander.
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