To summarize: our invasion and occupation is what enables the Taliban to recruit massive numbers of Afghan teenagers into their cause. And now, we have to stay until we either kill all the people who hate us and want us gone from their country or propagandize deradicalize them into meekly accepting our presence.
The teenage insurgents spend their days learning to make shoes and bookshelves, listening to religious leaders denounce the radical interpretation of Islam they learned as children.
But when they return to their cells at Kabul’s juvenile rehabilitation center, the boys with wispy beards and cracking voices talk only of the holy war from which they were plucked and their plans to resume fighting for the Taliban.
As the Taliban presses its efforts to recruit teenage fighters, Afghan officials and their international backers have crafted a program to reintegrate the country’s youngest insurgents into mainstream society. But that ambition is coming up against the intransigence of the teens, who say they would rather be on the battlefield.
“We’ll fight against America for a thousand years if we have to,” said Ali Ahmad, 17, sitting at a desk that has hearts and Koran verses scratched in the wood . . .
“They bring us here to change us,” said Nane Asha, in his late teens. “But this is our way. We cannot be changed.” . . .