Attrition: Terrorists Forced To Recruit Children


December 13, 2007: As al Qaeda suffered greater and greater losses in Iraq, recruiting became a serious problem. In desperation, leaders were ordered to recruit whoever they could. This meant more women and more teenage males. Normally, al Qaeda does not like to employ adolescents. They are too inexperienced and unreliable. That combination gets everyone in trouble, and adult al Qaeda do not like to work with kids. But earlier this year, al Qaeda found that fewer and fewer adults were willing to join up. This was largely due to U.S. troops capturing several key al Qaeda leaders, and lots of membership records. Too many al Qaeda members were being arrested or killed, and recruiting became very difficult. So kids were hired for a lot of simple jobs, like placing roadside bombs, or guard duty. Turned out that these kids were more likely to run away, or just surrender, if confronted with Iraqi or American troops. As a result of that, nearly half the al Qaeda under arrest (950 of 2,000) are under 18. Only about eight percent of the terrorists held by U.S. forces are al Qaeda. The rest belong to various Iraqi militias or terror groups (most of them Sunni Arab.) Al Qaeda is the most hated terror group, because of the heavy use of large suicide bombs against civilians. And with this recruitment of children, who are easy to interrogate, and convert to government supporters, the government now knows more about what the terrorist organization is up to.




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