Child Bombers - Afghan War's Latest Weapon

In Afghanistan, the innocent are learning the tactics of terror, reports CBS News Correspondent Mandy Clark.

Boys as young as 7 years old have to be held by an adult to withstand the recoil of an AK-47 as they are trained by the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Other children aren't trained but tricked into carrying bombs.

CBS News Special Report: The Road Ahead

"I lost my leg," 11-year-old Eidullah says, "I'm angry because we were not guilty of anything."

Eidullah was asked by the Taliban to deliver a fruit basket to a local commander who was cooperating with U.S. forces. Hidden in the basket was a bomb. However, the commander wasn't hurt because the bomb exploded prematurely -- maiming Eidullah and injuring his eight friends.

Some of their lives were saved by American surgeons at a nearby military hospital. Doctors say they are seeing more children involved in bombings.

"It shows the lengths that al Qaeda will go to and the indifference that they have to these pure kids," said Lt. Col. Benjamin Kam, an orthopedic surgeon.

The children recruited by the Taliban and al Qaeda are often willingly sent to the terror camps by their parents. The promise of free food, shelter and education for their sons is too difficult to turn down.

But the children who were tricked face a lifetime of painful procedures to treat their wounds.

Nine-year-old Mohammad had a nerve in his leg severed in the blast.

"Unfortunately he will lose function in this section of his leg. He'll eventually have to have it amputated," said Dr. Scott Russi, chief of surgery at Shamrock Combat Hospital.

Out of the nine children injured, two lost limbs, one lost sight. All of their lives will be forever altered.

Eleven-year-old Bachmaner was one of the lucky ones. He only suffered a broken leg. He wishes he could go back to his old life. "We all used to play soccer," he says, "now we can't walk without pain."

It's not childhood games that Eidullah is worried about now. His father is blind and as the oldest son, tradition demands that he take care of his family. Now, he doubts he can.

He, like hundreds of other children, are caught up in a war they had no expectation of fighting.

More special coverage on CBSNews.com:
Women's Rights in Afghanistan
Medevac Helicopter Crews Saving Lives in Afghanistan
Marines in Afghanistan: A Day in the Life
Taliban Gaining Firepower and Confidence
Battle of Wanat - Inside the Ambush
Afghanistan, 8 Years In: How We Got Here
Soldier's Last Letter from Afghanistan
"I was Just Starting to Live My Life"
  • Mandy Clark

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