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Motivations Of Afghan Suicide Bombers Revealed


As Afghanistan tries to figure out how to stop a wave of suicide attacks, the country's spy agency has provided a window into the mindset of those willing to carry them out.

Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS) has paraded a number of would-be suicide bombers before the media, letting them describe their motivations in seeking to kill themselves and others.

In each case they are Afghans, their plans targeting Kabul were foiled, and they ended up in detention.

Thirteen-year-old Bilal was captured by intelligence officers just before he was able to detonate explosives in downtown Kabul.

Speaking to RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, Bilal said he was sent by his uncle to a madrasah in the restive northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. In the course of his religious studies, he was exposed to extremist views and eventually underwent six weeks of training for a suicide mission to Kabul.

"The mullah told us that everyone in Kabul was an infidel," he told Radio Free Afghanistan. "He said I would go to heaven and should be happy that I wouldn't go to hell. I was glad that I was caught because I didn't want to die."

Suicide bombers were always sent in twos, in case one of them decided to abort the mission, according to Bilal. In his case he was sent on a mission along with another boy, although the fate of his partner is unclear.

Mir Ahmad, 18, is a native of Logar Province who attended the Mohammadiya Madrassa in Pakistan's tribal areas, along the border with Afghanistan.

"They told us that the government in Kabul is not Islamic," he told Radio Free Afghanistan. "They said the government was a puppet of the United States. They said we have to wage jihad against Kabul. Their propaganda inspired me to fight and defend Islam. That's why I became a suicide bomber. They showed us videos about the war. They told us stories about Prophet Muhammad, his conquests, and how he fought infidels."

According to Ahmad the recruitment drive in Pakistan's tribal areas is headed by the Haqqani Network, a radical militant group that is closely tied to the Afghan Taliban.

Edris is a native of the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, a Taliban stronghold. Edris began attending a radical madrasah in Kandahar soon after his father was killed in a suspected U.S. airstrike two years ago.

"I felt depressed and angry. I thought about my father and made the decision to become a suicide bomber. They told us that these foreigners had burned our holy book and made movies about our prophet."

Written by Frud Bezhan, based on interviews conducted by Radio Free Afghanistan.

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