A 9-year-old girl says she was kidnapped in Pakistan by Taliban with the intent of forcing her to be a suicide bomber. She escaped, but her experience raises concerns about the use of children by militants.
A 9-year-old schoolgirl narrowly escaped a plot laid by her Taliban kidnappers this week in Pakistan’s northwest to use her as a suicide bomber at a military checkpoint, raising concerns about militants' intent to use children in their battles.
The girl, Sohana, was kidnapped over the weekend by two men and two burqa-clad women in Peshawar, who huddled her into the car and drove to Timargarah. That’s the largest town in Lower Dir, bordering Afghanistan, where Pakistan’s security forces launched a successful crackdown against the Taliban insurgency in 2009.
“I was buying toffees from a roadside vendor on my way to school,” the third-grader, wearing a white-head scarf and blue school uniform, told police officials and reporters after her narrow escape on Monday.
“When I opened my eyes, I found myself in a room. They fed me biscuits and I fell unconscious,” she said. The next morning, Taliban militants took her close to the Darra Islam checkpoint and forced her to wear a suicide vest. “They put on one suicide jacket on me, but it did not fit,” she said. “Then they put on another one.”