Pakistani newspapers report today that the bodies of "key Taliban commander" Qari Abdullah (pictured above) and another terrorist were found in the Santgtan area of Kabal tehsil in the Swat Valley on Sunday. He has been reported killed before, but this time it seems to be true.
Qari Abdullah, who was himself educated in a madrassa, was in charge of recruiting children to become suicide bombers in Swat in the days when the Pakistan Taliban had a free run of the area last year.
Interviewed last year before the Pakistan Taliban were routed from Swat for a PBS documentary on child bombers by Pakistani journalist Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the confused and clearly disturbed Abdullah was first shown looking at a short film of young Hamas supporters in uniform aged around 12 who were chanting verses from the Koran.
His recruits were much younger than that, said Qari Abdullah. In fact they were mostly 5, 6 and 7. He added: "Children are tools for achieving God’s will... whatever comes your way you sacrifice it, so it’s fine... [the children] want to join us because they like our weapons. They don’t use weapons to begin with; they just carry them for us."
There is no information on who killed Qari Abdullah. He may be yet another victim of army and police units operating in Swat who seem to take no prisoners. But my guess is that there will be no shortage of suspects amongst the families whose children were abducted by Qari Abdullah and his followers.