A video showing young Afghan children bearing firearms was published on YouTube in late December. Our Observer in Kabul says this is a perfect example of Taliban propaganda.
According to the US nonprofit organisation SITE
, which tracks terrorist activity on the Internet, the video was posted online by the pro-Jihad channel Katawaz Studio. SITE says the footage was shot in the border province of Paktika, in eastern Afghanistan. This region, at the Pakistani border, is home to the Haqqani network, one of the Taliban’s most active armed branches. In 2011, the group claimed responsibility for several deadly terrorist attacks
on Afghan soil.
Approximately 132,000 NATO soldiers, 100,000 of whom are American, have been deployed in Paktika since a US-led coalition toppled the Taliban government in 2001. Last month, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta addressed US troops at a forward operating base in Paktika province, claiming the international coalition was "winning this very tough conflict" against the Taliban.
Source : Site Intelligence Group.
“This type of video no longer surprises anyone in my country”
Nasim Fekrat is a blogger in Kabul.
This video has all of the characteristics of a set-up. It features a typical Taliban chant, without music because music is “haram” (unlawful) according to the Taliban. You can tell that the children aren’t quite sure what to do and that the man behind the camera is guiding them. They look confused, some of them are smiling and one is chewing gum (see minute 4’38).
Many videos like this one are circulating on the Internet. They may seem disturbing to foreigners, but they come as no surprise to those who know Afghanistan well. The Taliban often use children for their propaganda. It’s a way for them to send out the message that the Afghan people are opposed to the US military occupation. “
Editor’s note: The Taliban do not only use children for propaganda – they also train them to become suicide bombers. According to a report by Human Rights Watch
, there has recently been an “alarming increase in the number of suicide bombings” in Afghanistan committed by youths aged 7 to 17.