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Pak Taliban buying children for suicide attacks

world Updated: Jul 03, 2009 15:12 IST

Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud is buying children as young as seven years old to carry out suicide bombing, the Online news agency said citing reports on Thursday.

The price for a child bomber is between $7,000 and $14,000, a Pakistani official requesting anonymity said.

Mehsud has turned suicide bombing into a production company, not like the way Toyota produces cars, a US Defense Department official said recently to reporters.

He said the price depends on how quickly the bomber is needed and how close the child is expected to get to the target.

"Mehsud produces these suicide bombers, which are sold or bartered, which can be used by (Afghan Taliban leader Mullah) Omar's Taliban or... other groups," the Washington Times said in a report citing the US official.

In some cases, he said, the children are kidnapped and then sold to Mehsud. He added that Mehsud remains the main target for US and Pakistani security forces.

On Sunday, the Pakistani government offered a reward of about $615,300 for information leading to the capture of Mehsud, dead or alive. The US State Department has offered a reward of $5 million for Mehsud, who is thought to be hiding in the Pakistani tribal areas near the Afghan border.