Afghan Violence Taking Toll on Women, Children
The latest spate of violence in Afghanistan is claiming more the lives of more civilians. Insurgents have taken to targeting hospitals and police stations, and have also started using children to carry their bombs. An eight-year-old girl was killed while trying to deliver a bomb to a police station for insurgents.
Insurgents using women and children to carry bombs is becoming more common. The insurgents rarely carry these weapons themselves - preserving their lives to commit their acts of violence another day. While the children they use are obviously unwitting victims, it would not be surprising to find out that women may not be.
In Pakistan, the wife of a Taliban militant has been implicated in planning an attack against Pakistani police with her husband. It can be hoped that this woman is an exception that will not become a rule.
In the midst of the violence, the leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran have agreed to combat terrorism in the region. Whether or not these latest pledges will be carried out remains to be seen. In a statement released during a counter-terrorism summit Saturday, "All sides stressed their commitment to efforts aimed at eliminating extremism, militancy, terrorism, as well as rejecting foreign interference, which is in blatant opposition to the spirit of Islam, the peaceful cultural traditions of the region and its peoples' interests."
One message that further expressed the general distaste that leaders in the region have over Western intervention in their countries came from Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini. "The diabolical calculation of the dominating powers is to exploit terrorism as a tool to gain their illegitimate aims and they have used it in their plans," he said in the message which was read to conference attendees from the three nations plus Iraq, Sudan and Tajikstan. "In their view, terrorism is whatever threatens their interests. They consider those who are fighting for their legitimate right against occupiers as terrorists but do not consider their mercenaries and malicious groups who harm innocent people as terrorists."