Conflict & Justice

Taliban deny sending girl, 10, on suicide mission in Afghanistan



Afghan children wait for relief supplies at a refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul. Authorities said a girl, possibly as young as eight, tried to carry out a suicide bombing attack on January 5, 2014.



The Taliban denied sending a young girl on a suicide bombing in southern Afghanistan on Sunday despite what some are calling the latest example of the extremists using children as weapons.

The girl, identified by NDTV as Spozhmai, was "scared and cold" when stopped by authorities near a police checkpoint in the Khan Nasheen district of Helmand province.

She said her brother Zahir, a Taliban commander, had given her the explosive device and directed her toward the checkpoint.

"She was crying and told border police that she was made obliged by her brother to do suicide attack on them," Hamidullah Siddiqi, an Afghan border police official, told NBC News.

Authorities believe the girl is between eight and 10 years old.

A Taliban spokesman called the story "government propaganda," the Associated Press reported.

“We never do this, especially with girls,” Qari Yousef Ahamdi told the AP.

Afghan police arrested the girl's father, Abdul Ghfar, but are still searching for her brother.

More from GlobalPost: Suicide attacks, once uncommon, on the rise in Afghanistan

The Taliban has used child and teenage suicide bombers in the past, but Spozhmay is one of the youngest recorded by the Afghan government.

She's also one of the few girls reportedly tasked by the Taliban for suicide bombings.

In one of the deadliest attacks, a 14-year-old boy killed six people in a suicide bombing near the entrance of the NATO-led international coalition headquarters in Kabul last September, detonating his explosives as he rode by on his bicycle.

Terrorist groups like the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan are increasingly turning to children as operatives, according to CNN.

A Channel 4 investigation that aired this summer found Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan bribing starving children as young as 8 years of age to plant deadly roadside booby traps, be decoys in ambushes and act as suicide bombers.

More from GlobalPost: Boy suicide bomber kills 6 in attack near NATO's Kabul headquarters