Child Soldiers and Suicide Bombing Schools Still Define Taliban Rule

Child Soldiers and Suicide Bombing Schools Still Define Taliban Rule

Despite their transformation from an insurgency into a government charged with caring for a country of 38 million, suicide bombing remains a key strategy for the Taliban.

Child soldiers are one of the six “grave violations” against children listed by the United Nations and are banned by the Geneva Conventions and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Additionally, opponents of such a crime claim that opposing forces too readily detain children for their involvement in the conflict instead of rehabilitating and treating them as victims of war.

Afghanistan ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994, two years before the first Taliban regime came to power. In practice, however, the signing seems to have been of little effect.

“This is my duty,” one wide-eyed Talib says softly, cradling an AK-47 like a small child from his lonely checkpoint on the edges of Nuristan, touching the light stubble on his chin. “It doesn’t matter my age. Maybe I am sixteen. Maybe I am nineteen. It doesn’t matter.”

Hollie McKay is the author of Only Cry for the Living: Memos from Inside the ISIS Battlefield and a journalist and war crimes investigator currently based in Afghanistan.

Image: Reuters