A boy of ten and another aged 16 have been beheaded by the Taliban for ‘spying’.
The pair were seized while scavenging among rubbish bins near the police headquarters in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second city and a key base for Western forces.
They were accused of accepting food from the police in exchange for information, provincial government officials said last night.
Their heads were cut off following interrogation, it is claimed. Their bodies were recovered in Kandahar’s Zhari district.
The officials said the boys had simply been going through bins to find food that had been thrown away by Western forces.
The ten-year-old boy was very poor and was known to take food going spare from the police to give to his family, the officials added.
Dr Toryalay Wessa, who is Kandahar’s governor, instructed the security forces and police to hunt down and catch the militants responsible for the killing ‘with whatever casualties it takes and at whatever price’.
Jamal Agha, the chief of Zhari district, said: ‘The boys were on their way back when they were stopped by Taliban insurgents who beheaded them.
‘Both of them were innocent children and had nothing to do with government or foreigners.’
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi denied the allegations, insisting the group had not beheaded any children in the area. In 2012, the extremists were accused of – and denied – beheading a 12-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl in south and east Afghanistan.
Taliban fighters have been known to behead their enemies but have always denied carrying out such attacks on children.
Officials believe the Taliban executed the boys as a warning to other youngsters not to co-operate with the Coalition forces. The news of the beheadings drew a strong response on social media, with thousands of expressions of outrage on Twitter.
Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban and one of Afghanistan’s most restive provinces. Last July, in the same area, a 16-year-old boy accused by the Taliban of spying for the government was beheaded and skinned.
The next month, a girl aged seven and a boy of 12 were kidnapped and beheaded in separate incidents.
News of the latest beheadings follows fierce gun battles near the airport in Kabul, the Afghan capital. Seven Taliban fighters armed with guns and explosives clashed with security forces and were all killed.
The Taliban said the attack was intended to target Americans in Kabul International Airport, one part of which is used by military forces and another by civilians, the officials said.
In eastern Afghanistan, a service member with Nato’s International Security Assistance Force died in a bombing yesterday, the latest in a string of coalition deaths.
Read more: DailyMail