Karzai denounces use of child bombers

The president’s message was designed to highlight how the Taliban and other militants are soliciting children to conduct suicide bombings, which often kill other innocent Afghans and Muslims.

Karzai sat in a sunny courtyard at the presidential palace with about 20 youth who had either surrendered to Afghan authorities or had been arrested across the nation in connection with planned suicide bombings.

After a brief chat, he ordered aides to help the young men, ages 10 through 16, find homes, education or be released to their parents.

He challenged the older ones to have a discussion with him and his religious advisers about whether launching suicide bombings and conducting other violence were the best ways to secure the future of Afghanistan. “If you convince us that you are right, we will go with you,” Karzai told them.

In southern Afghanistan, a local government official was assassinated on Tuesday evening, the third official killed in Helmand province in a week. The governor’s office in Helmand said two gunmen on a motorcycle fired at a member of the Nawa district council. He was rushed to a hospital but died of his wounds.

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