Monday, June 15, 2009

Suffer the children

Christina Lamb reports that the Taliban has begun paying children to plant bags at crowded spots in Pakistani cities, without telling them that the bags will explode, injuring them and killing others:
Ishaq, who comes from a poor family that barely survives on the money his father earns from house-painting jobs, had been working at the Orakzai bus stop of the city’s main Terah Bazaar, earning a few rupees a day by helping people to load lorries and buses.
Two weeks ago a man with a moustache but no beard approached him and offered him the note to leave a blue plastic bag in a crowded area between several shops.
“I was excited to get 50 rupees,” said Ishaq. “That’s more than I earn the whole week.”
He picked up the bag and pocketed the money, enjoying the feel of it as he thought about whether he might spend it on a rare treat such as an ice-cold Coca-Cola, or take it home to his mother. The bag was of plastic sacking of the type used to carry sugar, and was not heavy.
“I put it down, turned back and had not walked 20 steps when there was a big blast and I was thrown,” he said. “I don’t remember what happened then.”
When he woke up he was in Kohat hospital with the other victims of the blast. The 50-rupee note was still in his pocket, covered in blood.
When he learnt that three people had been killed and 23 injured he was horrified. “I never imagined it was a bomb,” he said, his eyes filling with tears. “I move bags for people all day.”
Doctors at the hospital say his left foot has multiple fractures and the heel is completely crushed. Yesterday he had the first in a number of operations needed it if he is to walk again. His back is peppered with shrapnel from the bomb but his family has no money for painkillers.
Monitor: Mick Hartley

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