Orphans Go from the Streets to Jihadi Camps

Pakistan’s leading human rights organisation, the Ansar Burney Welfare Trust, said jihadi groups fighting the Indian government were taking orphans off the streets and putting them in training camps. The Times on line and little green footballs had this story today.

The organisation said it also had evidence that sympathetic government officials were passing children on to the jihadis to be looked after.

The popularity of the Islamic militants has risen sharply since the earthquake struck on October 8, killing more than 87,000 people.

The militants were among the first to arrive with aid at some of the worst affected villages. Their organisation and ability to commandeer lifting equipment and tents have generated significant new support. But according to human rights campaigners they are using their new popularity to smuggle weapons and recruit the young and vulnerable.

“We have heard from very reliable sources and seen with our own eyes that orphaned and lost children are being taken by jihadi organisations in northern Pakistan to be trained,” said Fahad Burney, of the trust.

Jamaat-ud Dawa, one of the largest jihadi groups in Pakistan, has called openly for orphans to be handed over for an “Islamic education”.