According to the Iranian Kurdistan Human Rights Watch (IKHRW), Kurdish militant and armed groups have serious disagreements on various political issues, but in harming Iranian Kurdish families and kidnapping Kurdish children, they are completely alike.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, known as HDK, which is accused of militant actions against Iranian Kurds and cooperation with Saddam Hussein and the Baath regime and silence against the Halabja crime, has kidnapped and deceived Iranian Kurdish children in order to make up for its lack of strength like PJAK.
The latest child soldier victim, who escaped, is Maedeh Aslani from Sanandaj, born in 2007. In an exclusive interview, the reporter of Iran Kurdistan Human Rights Watch (IKHRW) found that at the age of thirteen, she was easily deceived by the promises of this group due to disagreements with her family.
Maede Aslani in an interview with IKHRW said:
I was only 13 years old when I joined the group. Because I had problems with them, they were very strict. I wanted to be free like my friends, but my family wouldn’t let me. I was deceived by the members of the group, I met them on Instagram before joining and we started talking. They described the conditions there as ideal for me and even promised to send me to Europe. Since I did not have favorable conditions at home, I was very easily deceived by him/her, and he/she gave me the number of a smuggler, and through him/her, I left the country illegally at Sardasht border. When I entered Iraq, I was immediately sent to a training course. There, they taught how to work with different weapons, and sometimes there were ideology classes and political discussions. After the training course, I was sent to the mountains with others, where we lived like primitive and forest people. In the mornings, we were just looking for wood for the fire, and wandered and did nothing special. During that time, I asked several times to call my family, but they refused. From the first day I entered there, I had a very difficult situation, some of the boys there tried to approach me, sometimes they even called me sexual teases, and this really bothered me. I complained to them several times, but no one cared. After some time, our camps were hit by rockets from Iran, then I escaped. I lived for a while in a friend’s house in Erbil, and because I didn’t have a residence card, I had to become a member of Khabat Party (Organization of the Iranian Kurdistan Struggle). I was trained there for almost two months, finally I called my family and immediately my brother and uncle brought me back to Iran. I wish I would come back sooner, but I was afraid because the group falsely said if I return to Iran, I will be imprisoned.
As mentioned, this is not the first time that these armed groups easily kidnap these children and use them for their militant purposes. The Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran recruits soldiers in Kurdistan by kidnapping children, and after military training, including terror and violence, use them to extort money from the people of the region. Because they are familiar with the language, behavior, and geography of their region and can carry out extortion and terror more easily. While the heads of these groups are in Europe and in return, they have endangered the lives of their members, who live in the mountains with the least facilities.