The arrest of two children and a teenager with bombs and remote-controlled devices in Afganistan's former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar has sparked fears that the militant outfit could be training more children as suicide bombers.
The children were aged eight and 12 and the teenager was 17 years old, Xinhua reported citing Kandahar province spokesman Jawed Faisal.
They were arrested in Zharay district of the province, while carrying multiple improvised explosive devices and homemade explosives.
Unicef spokesman in Kabul, Aziz Farotan, said at least 316 children under 18 were recruited by militant outfits in 2011 to fight against the government.
The Taliban are yet to admit recruiting children for fighting against the government.
However, Afghan officials said Taliban-run madrassas or Islamic religious schools in Pakistan's northwest tribal belt along the border with Afghanistan train young students in terror tactics and send them to Afghanistan to fight.
This was not the first time security forces reported arrest of underaged children in terrorist activities.
In August 2011, Afghan President Hamid Karzai set free from a juvenile detention centre in Kabul around two dozen would-be children suicide bombers, the youngest of them aged only eight.
When the potential bombers were brought before journalists, an 11-year-old boy said his teachers told him to "just get close to a group of foreign soldiers and touch these two wires together".
He said he was trained by the Taliban in Pakistan's southwest Quetta city.
His trainers told him he would be able to detonate his vest and kill the foreign soldiers without killing himself.
At least five children are killed or injured in the militancy-plagued nation every day, the Unicef spokesman said.