Entries in Helmand (2)


Taliban Reportedly Smothers 8-Year-Old Boy in Afghanistan

ABC News(HELMAND, Afghanistan) -- In his whole life, Ibrahim had done nothing to oppose the Taliban. He did not work for the government in his native Helmand, in southern Afghanistan. He did not work for U.S. or British troops. How could he have? He was only 8.

But the Taliban reportedly saw fit to suffocate him. And then dump him in a ditch. His only crime, it seems, was being born the son of a police officer.

It took three days for the residents of Gereshk, 30 miles northeast of the provincial capital, to find Ibrahim's small body after he disappeared. When they found him, they said, he'd been suffocated by a man's shawl.

"This is a brutal and cowardly crime that is not acceptable in any religion or culture," President Hamid Karzai said.

Ibrahim apparently died because his father, Daud, refused to give in to a Taliban demand, according to residents and government officials. The Taliban called Daud, who drives a police truck, and demanded he hand over the truck: a green, U.S.-made Ford Ranger.

Daud refused, thinking the call was a prank, and insurgents warned him that he would have to "face the consequences."

That was Thursday. By Sunday, his son was dead.

Insurgents have waged a violent campaign across Afghanistan, targeting Afghan police, army and politicians, and their families. NATO argues that the Taliban in Helmand and Kandahar have lost their safe havens, and that their increasing use of assassinations and roadside bombs are signs of "desperation."

But many officials connected with the government in these areas say their lives are more in danger than ever before, and that the Taliban are still able to target anyone they want.

After being criticized by local residents, the Taliban denied any involvement in Ibrahim's death. But it was not the first time something like this has happened in Helmand. Insurgents killed a seven-year-old boy last summer, accusing him of "spying."

The United States handed over responsibility for Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, to Afghan security force last week. Security in the city has increased in the past 18 months but, residents say, police are not sufficiently equipped or large enough to guarantee anyone's safety.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Roadside Bomb in Helmand Kills 15 Civilians, Bombing in Kandahar

Image Courtesy - Defense Department/Getty Images(HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan) -- Fifteen Afghan civilians were reportedly killed in a roadside bombing Friday as they traveled together to a bazaar.  Local officials told the BBC they were all riding in a pickup truck when it rolled over a bomb, possibly intended for U.S. troops fighting against the Taliban in the area.

Four people were hurt in the blast in the remote village of Khan Neshin.  Daoud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial governor in the notoriously violent Helmand Province, told the BBC the Taliban insurgents were to blame for the deadly bombing.

Saturday in Kandahar, a bombing at the police station injured at least six people and blew out the windows of buildings up to a mile away.   There are reports that in the northern province of Kunduz, five Afghan soldiers and nine civilians were hurt in a Taliban attack on an army checkpoint. 

There is a dispute over the deaths of seven Afghans Saturday in eastern Paktika Province, which borders Pakistan.  Local officials say troops from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) killed construction workers while ISAF says the seven killed were insurgents who targeted ISAF troops who were investigating a suspicious compound.

A protest outside the Paktika governor's office over the incident turned violent and police were called in.  Six people were hurt, including two police officers.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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