Children being used as suicide bombers was a matter of "deep concern", a leading Pakistani daily said on Tuesday and warned that women and children being used as tools posed a tough new challenge for security forces.
An editorial in the Dawn on Tuesday said recent incidents in Pakistan and Afghanistan suggest that militants "may increasingly be resorting to using women and children in suicide attacks".
An eight-year-old girl was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday when a bag she was given by Taliban militants exploded. And in Pakistan, a nine-year-old girl raised an alarm when she was strapped with an explosive vest and was being forced to carry out a suicide bombing.
The newspaper said a woman was one of two suicide bombers who carried out an attack against a police station in Dera Ismail Khan on Saturday.
"The use of female suicide bombers is not new; it has been employed by various groups for several decades, including militias in Lebanon, Chechen militants in Russia, Palestinian fighters, the Tamil Tigers and Kurdish separatists in Turkey.
"It is, however, a relatively new development in this region. And the apparent willingness to use children as suicide bombers is, of course, cause for deep concern."
The editorial said that terrorists were using women and children as they were desperate to try new methods.
"Stopping a suicide bomber is a near-impossible task as it is; the fact that women and children are being used as tools poses a tough new challenge for security forces. The only way to check this evil trend is to track down and dismantle the networks that plan and execute suicide bombings.
"It is especially vital that children be saved from being exploited in this heinous manner," it added.