By Najibullah and Staff
29 January, 2014
When it comes to taking credit for their involvement in terror attacks, Taliban militants seem to drape themselves in a flag of convenience rather than credibility.
Take the strategy of using girls as suicide bombers, for example.
The insurgents accept responsibility for such tactics when a bombing succeeds, Afghan citizen Rahimullah Osmani said. But when such an attack fails, the militants deny the whole thing, he noted.
Such seems to be the case with 10-year-old Spozhmai, who was arrested January 6 in connection with charges of trying to bomb a security check-point in Helmand Province.
The Taliban convinced her to carry out the attack, she said, but the militants, after widespread condemnation of the incident appeared in Afghan and international media, denied any involvement.
Afghan citizens point to this as yet another example of how the militants let public opinion determine their "official stance" on their role in attacks.
Militant Denials Are Hard To Believe
Taliban insurgents will do anything to achieve their goals, including using children as bombers, so a denial in this case doesn't ring true, Afghan citizens and politicians say.
"Taliban insurgents have frequently shown that they are not committed to any human and religious values," Sayed Jawad Husseini, leader of the Justice and Development Party of Afghanistan, told Central Asia Online. "They are in fact the enemies of human values."
And when their operations incite public anger, they simply deny a role, Jawad said.
The insurgents have no respect toward Islamic and human values – including honesty – and the public is aware of their flip-flopping, Masooda Karukhi, who represents part of Herat Province in the Afghan parliament's lower chamber, said in agreement.
Militants Have History of Using Children as Bombers
They're denying their responsibility of using a 10-year-old girl to blow herself up, but this is not the first time they've used such tactics, so why believe the denial? he asked rhetorically.
For example, in Ghazni Province in 2007, a 6-year-old boy named Juma Gul surrendered to Afghan security forces while he was wearing an explosive vest.
The insurgents instructed Gul to detonate his vest when Afghan security forces or foreign troops passed by. They said his family would receive flowers and food in return, media reported.
In previous years, Afghan security officials have shown a number of would-be child bombers to the media, each of whom had a similar story. The insurgents often exploit the youngsters' naive faith in martyrdom, officials said.
Girls Less Likely Than Boys to Be Exploited In Attacks
Spozhmai's case is unusual in that authorities have caught only a few girls who were preparing to commit a suicide bombing.
"In the past, the Taliban insurgents frequently used children to carry out suicide attacks, but this was the first time [authorities] announced they were making use of a girl," Habiba Sadat, who represents part of Helmand Province in the Afghan parliament's lower chamber, told Central Asia Online.
Plenty of Afghan citizens find the militants' denial of guilt impossible to accept, though using a girl bomber is a rarity even for the Taliban.
The juvenile reformatory in Kabul contains dozens of children, all of whom security forces detained before they could commit suicide bombings, Mahmoud Ahmadzai, an Afghan civilian, said, noting the Taliban's propensity to use children for such missions.
The lies and cover-ups are all part of a scheme to try to regain support among the public, police have said, and the practice extends beyond Afghanistan.
"Denying responsibility for attacks is part of their strategy to restore their deteriorating image among the public," Peshawar police investigator Khalid Khan told Central Asia Online after the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) denied participation in a series of attacks that the public condemned because of high civilian death tolls.
But the public understands those efforts for what they are, a cover-up, he said.