Omar Khadr, age 15 and a citizen of Canada, was given emergency medical care for near-fatal gun-shot wounds and taken into custody by U.S. forces in Afghanistan on July 27, 2002. U.S. military forces had been in that country since October of 2001, only a month after the devastating attacks on the United States of September 11. Omar Khadr was, without doubt, a child on the date of his detention and all prior dates of his alleged criminal conduct. He was, however, caught up on that July day in a prolonged military encounter with deaths on both sides including, very nearly, his own. Some would thus first characterize him not as a child but as a combatant – “child soldier” is the term most often applied in such situations, but the more neutral “child in armed conflict” is generally used here.
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