Rohullah, 13, ran away from home in Gardez city in southeastern Afghanistan to Miramshah in neighbouring Pakistan. Unwittingly he was drawn into a suicide-bombers’ cell, and trained to use explosive vests to kill Afghan and US forces. Arrested soon after re-entering Afghanistan, he is now in prison in Khost Province. From his cell Rohullah told IRIN his story:
"I had serious disputes with my parents on many issues and as time went by I felt I could not tolerate that, so I escaped and went to Miramshah. I bumped into an old man there whom I had seen in our village. He took me to his home and I stayed there for two nights.
"After that the old man introduced me to a middle-aged man [Shawkat] and asked him to take me to a Madrasah [an Islamic school with free board and lodging].
"Shawkat took me to a house where about 26 other boys - some younger and some older than me - were housed. Shawkat and other men were teaching us about Jihad, Islam and holy wars, and at night they were showing us films about the cruelty of foreign infidels to Muslims, the bombing of women and children, and the struggle by the Taliban.
"For six days I did not know why they were showing and telling us all those things. Then one afternoon Shawkat congratulated me and said that I had been selected for martyrdom. He also told me that after the martyrdom I would enter Heaven and would be remembered as a hero.
"Shawkat and two other men trained me how to use explosive vests. They also told me that I would earn more blessings from God if I detonated my vest in a crowded area and killed as many infidels as possible.
"The arrangement was: I should go to Khost [province] and do the suicide attack. Three weeks later I travelled to Khost and met an intermediary who was supposed to give me a suicide vest. I could not carry a vest with me because of the security checkpoints.
"But on my first night in Khost I was arrested [by Afghan intelligence forces]. I know I did wrong and I regret it. I miss my parents and my brothers and sisters. I wish I had never escaped from home."
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions