Monday, June 10, 2013

Taliban Beheads Two Boys In Kandahar, But Media Has Food Fight Over Motive

June 10, 2013 - The bodies of two boys named Khan and Hameedullah, 10 and 16, were discovered with their heads cut off. And the media can't get the motivation straight.

Map of ISAF regional commands in Afghanistan Provinces
"News of the 10-year-old's death was all over Twitter yesterday, but "later on Monday the Kandahar provincial government office confirmed that a second boy had also been beheaded," says BBC News today. Many reports are saying that the Taliban killed the boys, but they deny responsibility for the murders. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi "insisted to the BBC the group had not beheaded any children in the area."

Kandahar's governor, Dr. Toryalay Wessa, condemned the killings as inhumane and un-Islamic and insists the Taliban is guilty of killing the boy. A manhunt for the killers has been ordered.

"The boys were on their way back ... when they were stopped by Taliban insurgents who beheaded them," the chief of Zhari district, Jamal Agha, told Reuters. "Both of them were innocent children and had nothing to do with government or foreigners."

Were They Looking for Food? 
There is media confusion over the motivation behind the killing of the two boys. Many reports say the boys were killed while seeking food, but at least one report says that the boys may have actually been selling food.  

The Kandahar provincial government office issued a statement last night that said the boys were probably suspected by the Taliban of giving information to police in exchange for food, says The Telegraph. "In separate incident, it was claimed, the boys were questioned about spying and their heads were then cut off."  A Reuters report at Gulf News says that Khan and Hameedullah "had traveled to Afghan army and police checkpoints near their home in the southern province of Kandahar, scrounging for leftover food to bring to their families, the officials said."

Which is it? Were the boys scrounging for food or given food in exchange for information?

Or Were They Selling Yogurt?
However, a very different report from Voice of Journalists (VOJ) says that the boys may have been killed "because they sold yogurt to Afghan Police and Army personnel. The boys were warned that they should not have any business dealings with any Afghan official. However, today when the boys were coming back after selling their 'Lassi', a yogurt-based drink, they were captured and then ruthlessly beheaded."

Video: In 2012, Taliban Islamist insurgents beheaded 17 party-goers.
A spokesperson of Kandaha governor said that the boys had a flock of sheep and goats, reports VOJ.  "They would create lassi out of yogurt and then swap this drink with Afghan Police and Army to get some food in return. For this reason, they were warned by the Taliban. They were asked not to conduct any business with Afghan Police or help them in any matter."

The Telegraph also notes that "Afghans officials believe the Taliban carried out the executions as a 'warning' to other youngsters not to co-operate with the Coalition forces at a time when they are launching fresh attacks in Afghan cities on Western and Afghan forces as part of their Spring offensive which has so far seen a series of high profile attacks."