The Taliban is buying children as young as 7 to be used as homicide bombers against U.S., Afghan and Pakistani targets, The Washington Times reported.

Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan's top Taliban leader, is paying between $7,000 and $14,000 for each child bomber, according to a Pakistani official who spoke to the newspaper with the contingency he not be named because of the sensitive nature of the topic.

The business of child bombers is lucrative in Pakistan where the average per-capita income is about $2,600 a year, the Times reported.

"[Mehsud] has turned suicide bombing into a production output, not unlike [the way] Toyota outputs cars," a U.S. Defense Department official recently told reporters.

The price paid for the child depends mostly on how fast the bomber is needed and how close the child will get to the target.

A U.S. Defense Department official told the Times children are being kidnapped and sold to the Taliban just to receive the money.

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