A video released on an underground al-Qaida site apparently shows young boys — some reportedly orphaned by fathers who died fighting for al-Qaida – training with the jihadi group in Pakistan to commit acts of terrorism, according to The Mirror.
The video, shot in north Waziristan and released in early November, shows the boys shooting pistols and AK-47 assault rifles inside a terror camp.
A few of the boys appear to be as young as five years old.
The propaganda video, titled “The Travels of the Believers part 5,” was released by the Turkistan Islamic Party. The group is credited with carrying out more than 200 acts of terrorism in the last 20 years.
The group says it specifically aims to fight the Chinese occupiers of Xinjiang, a western province of China known as East Turkistan.
“The video is part of disturbing trend,” terrorism expert Neil Doyle told the Mirror. ”This is the fourth Islamist insurgent group in recent weeks that has been linked to training children for the battlefield. Groups in Syria and Somalia have also claimed to be coaching children.”
“These children are living a very bleak existence. There is growing evidence that many are forced into it.”