KABUL - Trying to curb suicide attacks, Afghan security officials have planned a program to approach failed suicide bombers using scholars and Qur'an to convince the young men that the act of killing oneself is itself a crime in Islam.
You won't go to paradise, an elderly scholar told the men sitting on chairs arranged in rows in the brightly lit room, and points to pages in the holy book, Reuters reported on Sunday, June 11.
Killing yourself and killing others is forbidden in Islam," the scholar added.
The new program was designed by Afghanistan's National Directorate Security, long reviled for abuse and torture of detainees.
Security officials at the directorate say they are trying to draw the poison out of the young minds by teaching them the holy Qur'an.
They also take the men to mosques in Kabul to show people praying peacefully and proving their instigators were wrong.
The new method was sort of brainwashing for those young men, said Lutfullah Mashal, chief spokesman of the NDS, which last week gave Reuters rare access to the prisoners under supervision
We work with them psychologically, he said.
We show them movies and films of atrocities of the Taliban and we also take them to mosques to see thousands of worshippers.
During our interviews with them, we found that most of them do not know what they are doing. They are told false stories about Afghanistan, he added.
The Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s, were ousted by the United States, which invaded Afghanistan shortly after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
Since then, Taliban fighters have engaged in protracted guerrilla warfare against the US-led foreign troops and the West-backed Hamid Karzai government.
In the past two years, violence became at its worst across Afghanistan, with civilian and military casualties at record levels despite the presence of 150,000 foreign troops.
Suicide attacks, unknown in Afghanistan until 2004, have become particularly worrying as newly minted government forces take control of security ahead of the withdrawal of most foreign combat troops in 2014.
They account for the highest number of deaths of civilians and military forces after roadside bombings.
The attacks have prompted authorities to fortify government buildings and foreign offices with rows upon rows of blast walls to stop the bombers.
Despite government's trials, some of the Afghani bombers did not change their hearts, blaming the foreign invasion's repeated attacks on Islam and Qur'an for driving those attacks.
"I wanted to blow them up, said Ahmad Zubair, 18, who was caught two weeks ago with a suicide-bomb vest in the eastern city of Jalalabad, near the Pakistani border, where he planned to attack US soldiers
They have desecrated our holy book and made cartoons of our Prophet. As long as Americans are in Afghanistan, there will be suicide bombers," he added.
This year has been disastrous for relations between Afghans and US forces.
Earlier this April 2012, the Los Angeles Times published of pictures showing US troops with dismembered bodies in Afghanistan in 2010.
In January, American soldiers were shown urinating at the dead bodies of Taliban fighters, sparking a storm of anger and condemnations from across the Muslim world.
US troops were also engulfed in another crisis after the burning of copies of the Noble Qur'an at a US military base near Kabul in February.
At least 30 people were killed in violent protests against the burning of the Muslim holy book.