A disturbing video of children acting out a suicide bomb mission surfaced on Facebook recently and has gone viral.
The video, which has been circulating for four days and seems to originate in Afghanistan or Pakistan, shows a black-clad boy walking down a line of younger children exchanging handshakes, hugs and apparent goodbyes with younger children. After a final hug with an older boy at the end of the line, he embarks on his faux suicide mission.
The wannabe bomber, who wears a black scarf over his face, turns and walks towards a second group of children. A boy dressed in white and posing as a security guard holds up a hand to stop him. The bomber then lifts up his shirt to show where a bomb would be attached and pretends to detonate it.
The children throw sand in the air to simulate the dust created by a bomb and then fall to the ground as if killed by the explosion. The children who had shaken hands with the bomber run over to inspect the bodies.
The origin of the video is unclear, though based on the physical appearance of the children and the sandals and shalwar kameez tunics they're wearing, the playacting seems to take place in Afghanistan or Pakistan. It is shot from an angle that suggests the camera was held by an adult. Several media reports say a man named Ahsan Masood, a Pashtun from the Waziristan region of Pakistan, was among the first people known to have posted the video on Facebook. Masood says he uploaded it from a friend and did not know its exact origin. In one published account, Masood says he received the segment as a cellphone video.
This video is only a simulation, but comes from a region where the Taliban is active and suicide bombings are frequent. The idea of using children as executioners is also not a novelty in the area. In 2007, the Taliban made a shocking tape of a young boy wearing a combat jacket and slitting the throat of a Pakistani militant while denouncing him as an American spy.