Afghanistan: Children ‘blow themselves up’ in suicide bomber game

Footage of children in Afghanistan apparently re-enacting a suicide bombing has surfaced online. 01 Mar 2011 A video believed to feature Pashtun school children in south-east Afghanistan recreating a terrorist attack has been posted on social networking sites. The 84-second clip appears to show a veiled boy bid farewell to his friends before approaching a group of children nearby and blowing himself up. Sand is tossed in the air to simulate the detonation as children fall to the ground. As the dust settles, their playmates gather round and pretend to identify the dead. The amateur video has been circulated on the internet in Pakistan in recent days and has drawn mixed reactions in the region. “It’s horrifying and alarming. These children have become fascinated by bombers rather than condemning them,” Salma Jafar of Save the Children UK in Pakistan told The Guardian. Related ContentOne child a day killed in Afghan war Taliban suicide bomber kills 30 in attack on government office “If they glamorise violence now, they can become part of it later in life.” Pakistani media commentator Fasi Zaka called the suicide bomber clip “the most amazing amateur video I’ve ever seen”. “It’s disturbing but also sophisticated and creative – a one-camera shot that captures it all,” he said. “They are reproducing what they see in their lives around them,” he added. While the spontaneity of the production has been questioned by some viewers, who observed that the height of the camera indicates it was filmed by an older member of the group, the video highlights the disturbing psychological impact of Taliban violence on the youth of the region. Children have been both perpetrators and victims in the Taliban-led conflict on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. According to UN figures at least 176 children were killed and 389 wounded in the first half of 2010, although the real number is likely far higher.

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