A 10-year-old Afghan boy who had been lauded as a "hero" by local police was shot in the head and killed by the Taliban as he was walking to school Monday.
The boy, Wasil Ahmad, had helped his uncle lead a militia that fought terrorists, and many photographs all over social media clearly identified the boy alongside his uncle, showing him wearing a uniform and helmet while wielding an automatic weapon, according to Fox News. Officials Wednesday confirmed Wasil's death at the hands of Taliban insurgents while he was walking to school to attend his fourth-grade classes.
"He fought like a miracle," said Wasil's uncle, Mullah Abdul Samad, according to Sky News. "He was successfully leading my men on my behalf for 44 days until I recovered."
Samad, who had been a Taliban insurgent himself before switching sides to become a police commander in the Khas Uruzgan district, said that Wasil had led an armed defense against a Taliban siege in his stead after Samad was injured while firing off rockets from a rooftop, according to Sky News.
Although the use of child soldiers is illegal in Afghanistan, approximately 250,000 child soldiers are used worldwide and both insurgents and government forces have been recruiting children in their forces for years, Sky News noted. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission lashed out against Wasil's family, the government and the Taliban for his death.
"Possibly he took up arms to take revenge for his father's death, but it was illegal for the police to declare him a hero and reveal his identity, especially to the insurgents," spokesman Rafiullah Baidar said, according to Sky News. "One side made him famous and the other side killed him — both sides ignored the law and acted illegally."
Despite President Ashraf Ghani's decree last February that criminalized the recruitment of minors into Afghanistan's armed forces, the government has "failed to implement proactive mechanisms to identify, verify and release children" who had been recruited, a report released by Child Soldiers International stated, according to Fox News.
"There is a lack of political will to address this issue, and while it's within the framework of overall human rights violations, there is a specific commitment by the government to clean it up but sufficient measures are not being taken," said Child Soldiers International policy and advocacy director Charu Lata Hogg, Fox News reported.
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