(The Guardian) – The Taliban’s murder of a 10-year old Afghan boy this week has cast a spotlight on the practice by US allies of turning children into fighters in the war-torn country. Afghans have hailed the heroism of Wasil Ahmad, whom the Taliban killed in Uruzgan province on Monday for fighting alongside his uncle with a US-backed government militia called the Afghan Local Police. Wasil had won acclaim for helping ALP forces break an insurgent siege after his uncle, the unit’s commander, was wounded. He was declare a national hero by the Afghan government, and paraded, wearing an oversized uniform and wielding an AK-47. Overshadowed in the outpouring of grief is the grim practice of allowing children to take up arms, particularly alongside a quasi-official force created by the US military.