As reported extensively by IKHRW, Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) is notorious by the way it deceives and lures minors into its web through social media and local agents. These minors are then transferred into Iraqi Kurdistan to receive arms training, and participate in the group’s actions against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Here follows the remarkable story of one of these child soldiers, that has managed to escape the group and return home. His story is an example for the hundreds of other youngsters that currently remain in the ranks of KDPI.
Abdolkarim Ghasemi, the son of Abu Bakr from Oshnoyeh, was deceived in 2009 by false propaganda of the armed group of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran that was spread via instagram, and was trapped along with several other children. Ghasemi remembers being contacted by a person affiliated with the group through the direct messaging function of the app, after taking a peek at one of the group’s instagram pages.
He then officially entered Iraqi Kurdistan from the Tamerchin border when he was only 16 years old. However, people under the age of 18 should not be recruited to join armed groups.
In an interview with the Iranian Kurdistan Human Rights Watch, his father emphasized: “Abdolkarim was an intelligent child and while studying, he also helped me in agriculture and animal husbandry. He had a plan for his future; But he was deceived and they kidnapped my son. I have felt guilty for not checking his mobile phone until the day he returned.”
The reason for the situation in which minors are easily deceived by strangers contacting them through social media, is the lack of government facilities and security in these border areas.
“These armed groups are taking advantage of this opportunity and hurting families. Children should be educated on the danger of these groups.”
Abu Bakr Ghasemi added: “Now that my son has returned home, he is describing his bitter memories. He has bitter memories of conflict, contradictions and other injustices in these armed groups that he does not want to talk to anyone about. During his absence, his mother became ill and became severely depressed; Now she’s feeling much better.”
“Do KDPI leaders and other armed groups also raise their children in the mountains, or are they somwhere safe in Europe? Would they have responded if my child had been killed? In any case, we are happy that he has now returned. We are comfortable now, as Abdolkarim is fulfilling his mandatory conscription in the army, and will continue his studies after.”
“I am happy that my son is a soldier of my country, not a member of armed groups affiliated with foreigners.”
It is worth mentioning that the Human Rights Watch of Iranian Kurdistan has previously published the bitter story of the more recent kidnapping of several children by KDPI militants from the same town.