Jihadists released video of children training with firearms at a camp in the Taliban-controlled Waziristan region in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
The seven-minute-long video, which is titled ‘Cubs of Waziristan,’ was distributed by the Al Ansar Mailing List and recently released on jihadist websites. An edited version of the video and a translation are provided by the SITE Intelligence Group. The location of the camp and the date the video was taken were not disclosed.
At the beginning of the video, a group of 16 jihadists, including what appears to be six trainers armed with assault rifles and 10 young recruits, is seen standing in a semicircle. An older fighter, who seems to be the leader, cites a verse from the Koran that says Muslims must prepare for war against “the enemy of Allah and your enemy.”
“In obedience of this divine command, we are doing this and preparing militarily and Shariah- and faith-wise,” the fighter says. “In this way, we are erasing ages of humiliation that we tasted and in which we grew up. At times we were scared of match sticks, and now, thanks to Allah, here are the children of the Muslims getting trained in weapons that special forces are trained in using. This is an embodiment of the extirpation of the defeatist moral that was planted in the Islamic Ummah [community].”
The children are then seen undergoing firearms training with pistols, assault rifles, and machine guns. The boys are conducting shooting drills in lanes, with paper targets tacked up on posts. A few of the smaller kids are seen having difficulty handling the recoil of the assault rifles. The video ends with the trainers and the young recruits, who are now armed with assault rifles, standing in line, raising their weapons, and shouting “Allah is Great.”
While no group has been directly linked to the video, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, the Islamic Jihad Group, and a jihadist alliance known as the Fedayeen-i-Islam are known to run camps in Waziristan that are used to train children.
Qari Hussain Mehsud, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan commander who indoctrinates and trains children and others to conduct suicide attacks, ran camps in the Spinkai Ragzai area of South Waziristan for a time. But after a Pakistani Army offensive targeted his Taliban faction in an operation in South Waziristan in October 2009, he moved his camps to North Waziristan.
In the past, the Islamic Jihad Group has released videos of small children training for jihad. The IJG is currently based out of the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan.
Mir Ali also hosts at least three suicide training camps for the the Fedayeen-i-Islam, an alliance between the Pakistani Taliban, the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Earlier this year, a Fedayeen spokesman claimed that more than 1,000 suicide bombers, including young men, have trained at three camps. One failed suicide bomber corroborated the Fedayeen spokesman’s statement, claiming that more than 350 suicide bombers trained at his camp.
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