The Pakistani Taliban kidnapped an eight-year-old girl and attempted to force her to carry out a suicide attack. The girl was able to save herself and others by warning police at a checkpoint in the northeastern Pakistani district of Lower Dir before her vest could detonate.
Two men and a woman kidnapped an eight-year-old girl named Sohana Javaid from Peshawar, took her to a training camp, and attempted to get her to carry out a suicide attack against Pakistani troops, according to Reuters.
“They put a handkerchief on my mouth and I fell unconscious. They took me to some place. They gave me some biscuits to eat and I again fell unconscious,” Sohana told reporters at a press conference.
The Taliban strapped a suicide vest to her body, drove her to a checkpoint in Lower Dir, and tried to get her to detonate the explosives while she was among the troops. But Sohana was able to warn off the troops, who defused her vest and took her into custody.
“I moved toward the check post but I started shouting and was taken into custody,” she said.
Sohana isn’t the first young girl to escape the clutches of the Taliban in Dir and avoid becoming a suicide bomber. Late last year, a 12-year-old Pakistani girl named Meena Gul was able to escape her Taliban handlers. Meena said she was trained to be a “human bomb” by her own sister-in-law, a cell leader who was identified as Zainab. Meena said she was brainwashed to kill Pakistani troops in one of several camps in northwestern Pakistan and northeastern Afghanistan.
The suicide cells are under the command of Qari Zia Rahman, the dual-hatted Taliban and al Qaeda commander who operates on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border.
There have been three suicide attacks along the Afghan-Pakistan border that have been carried out by females over the past year. Two took place in Kunar province in Afghanistan, and another took place in the Bajaur tribal agency in Pakistan.
A female suicide bomber struck for the first time in Afghanistan in Kunar province on June 21, 2010. Two US soldiers were killed and two Afghan children were wounded in the attack. Qari Zia claimed credit for the bombing.
The next female suicide attack took place on Dec. 24, 2010, in Pakistan’s tribal agency of Bajaur. The suicide bomber killed 42 Pakistani civilians in an attack at a World Food Program ration distribution point.
The Afghan Taliban claimed credit for the last strike, a June 4 suicide attack in the Marawara district in Kunar province, Afghanistan, that killed three interpreters. The Taliban released a statement on their propaganda website, Voice of Jihad, and said that a “Mujahida sister” carried out the attack.