A new low in jihadist propaganda. By Abdul Sattar for Associated Press:
KILI FAQIRAN, Pakistan – The boy with the knife looks barely 12. In a high-pitched voice, he denounces the bound, blindfolded man before him as an American spy. Then he hacks off the captive’s head to cries of “God is great!” and hoists it in triumph by the hair.
A video circulating in Pakistan records the grisly death of Ghulam Nabi, a Pakistani militant accused of betraying a top Taliban official who was killed in a December airstrike in Afghanistan.
An Associated Press reporter confirmed Nabi’s identity by visiting his family in Kili Faqiran, their remote village in southwestern Pakistan.
The video, which was obtained by AP Television News in the border city of Peshawar on Tuesday, appears authentic and is unprecedented in jihadist propaganda because of the youth of the executioner.
Captions mention Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban’s current top commander in southern Afghanistan, although he does not appear in the video. The soundtrack features songs praising Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar and “Sheikh Osama” “” an apparent reference to Osama bin Laden, who is suspected of hiding along the Afghan-Pakistan
The footage shows Nabi making what is described as a confession, being blindfolded with a checkered scarf.
“He is an American spy. Those who do this kind of thing will get this kind of fate,” says his baby-faced executioner, who is not identified.
A continuous 2 1/2-minute shot then shows the victim lying on his side on a patch of rubble-strewn ground. A man holds Nabi by his beard while the boy, wearing a camouflage military jacket and oversized white sneakers, cuts into the throat. Other men and
boys call out “Allahu akbar!” “” “God is great!” “” as blood spurts from the wound.
The film, overlain with jihadi songs, then shows the boy hacking and slashing at the man’s neck until the head is severed.
The method of Nabi’s death was not unusual for Pakistan’s lawless tribal regions. Suspected informers are regularly found beheaded and dumped along the side of the road in the lawless, mountainous regions along the Afghan-Pakistani border where al-Qaida
and Taliban militants find sanctuary.
But such al-Qaida-style killings are rarely featured in the Taliban’s increasingly frequent propaganda videos. The use of a child to conduct the beheading stands out even among those filmed by militants in Iraq.
Sam Zarifi, Asia research director for Human Rights Watch, said the use of a child to commit such an act constituted a war crime and was a “new low” in the conflict in Afghanistan.
He noted the Taliban had teenage combatants but they were not recruited on a large scale because of the availability of adult fighters. He said he had seen children in the background of some jihadist videos but none in which they were directly involved in
“I don’t know why they would do this,” Zarifi said. “The Taliban have to some extent tried to play to the public in Afghanistan and have not engaged in the complete sowing of mayhem that we have seen in Iraq. But this kind of act is really egregious. It’s off the charts.”