Thursday, October 9, 2008

Baitullah Mehsud children's suicide camp

The Taliban have rebuilt a camp in South Waziristan that trains children to be suicide bombers, a video from Pakistan shows. Children as young as seven years old are indoctrinated to wage jihad in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The video, obtained by AfPax Insider, was shot in August in Spinkai Ragzai, South Waziristan, a tribal area run by Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. The Taliban are seen "training dozens of boys ranging in age from seven to 14," the news service reported. "The video attempts to justify suicide bombings as a legitimate means of attack against "infidels.'"
The images shows the children reading from the Quran and an adult Taliban training the children. One slide shows a poster board with the words "Killing a Spy" written in English.
While not explicitly stated in the AfPax Insider report, the camp is run by Qari Hussain, a senior lieutenant to Baitullah who has close links to al Qaeda. Hussain has rebuilt his child training camp after the Pakistani military demolished his suicide nursery during a short offensive in Spinkai in January 2008.

In May, a senior Pakistani general described the previous camp as a "factory." The military seized numerous documents and training materials in the demolished camp.
"It was like a factory that had been recruiting nine to 12-year-old boys, and turning them into suicide bombers," said Major General Tariq Khan, the commander of Pakistan's 14 Division, which led the operation in South Waziristan.
"The computers, other equipment and literature seized from the place ... give graphic details of the training process in this so-called 'nursery,'" Dawn reported in May. "There are videos of young boys carrying out executions, a classroom where 10- to 12-year olds are sitting in formations, with white band of Quranic verses wrapped around their forehead, and there are training videos to show how improvised explosive devices are made and detonated."
The Pakistani military launched the operation in South Waziristan on Jan. 24 after Taliban forces commanded by Baitullah overran two military outposts and conducted attacks against other forts and military convoys in the tribal agency.

The Pakistani military reported that Hussain was killed in January after intercepting Taliban communications. The military later reiterated that claim during the tour of the Spinkai camp on May 18.

Hussain held a press conference at a government school building in South Waziristan five days later. During the interview,he mocked the reports of his death. "I am alive, don't you see me?" Hussain said.
Hussain is believe to be in the running to succeed Baitullah Mehsud in the event of his death. Baitullah is suffering from complications related to kidney disease and was rumored to have died last week. Baitullah was later seen visiting villagers to celebrate Eid in towns throughout South Waziristan.
The Spinkai camp is one of 157 training camps and more than 400 support locations in the Taliban-controled tribal areas and in the Northwest Frontier Province.

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