* While Al Bebeceera’s reporting jackass David Loyn lies in ambush ’embedded’ with the Taliban, praising their toughness and skill, officials announced today that a kidnapped Afghan reporter had his head hacked off by Loyn’s traveling compagnions:
by Nasrat Shoaib
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) – Taliban militants on Sunday beheaded an Afghan reporter kidnapped last month with an Italian journalist, after the government refused to negotiate his release, a Taliban spokesman said.
“We killed Ajmal (Naqshbandi) today at 1505 (1135 GMT) because the government did not respond to our demands,” said Shohaabuddin Atal, spokesman for top Taliban military commander Mullah Dadullah. “He was beheaded.”
“They (the government) did not contact us,” he told AFP.
Atal said the journalist was beheaded in Helmand’s Hazar Joft district and the Taliban leaders would decide whether to return his body to his relatives.
Afghan private news agency Pajhwok reported that a spokesman for the Afghan intelligence services, Saeed Ansari, had confirmed the execution. But there has been no independent verification.
Another Taliban spokesman had earlier said that the militants had set the deadline for Naqshbandi’s execution on Monday unless the government agreed to release more jailed insurgents.
“Monday is the last deadline. He (Naqshbandi) will be killed unless the government complies with our demands,” Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi told AFP by telephone.
When asked why he was killed on Sunday, Atal said: “Because the government did not contact us and we knew they wouldn’t care for him so we killed him today.”
One of Naqshbandi’s relatives said that the Taliban contacted them early Sunday.
“They called us and said we should pressurise the government. Their tone this morning was very nasty,” the desperate relative, who asked not to be named, said..
“We heard media reports that he has been killed. No Taliban has contacted us about his death directly,” he added.
The Taliban are waging a deadly insurgency that includes suicide attacks and kidnappings of foreign journalists and aid workers, and their local colleagues, after being ousted from power five years ago by US-led troops.
Naqshbandi was captured in southern Helmand province on March 4 with Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, who was freed two weeks later in a controversial exchange for five Taliban prisoners. Their Afghan driver was beheaded before Mastrogiacomo’s release.
President Hamid Karzai said this week no more hostage deals with the Taliban would be made, saying the one he made to free Mastrogiacomo was an “extraordinary” situation.
He said the deal was made because Italy’s government — which has 1,800 troops in Afghanistan — could have collapsed.
La Repubblica newspaper, for which Naqshbandi worked as a interpreter, voiced “dismay” over the reported execution, which Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi also denounced.
“I learned with anguish the news of the murder of the interpreter that followed that of the (correspondent’s) driver,” he said. “We strongly condemn this absurd crime.”
US national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe said: “This barbaric killing reminds us of why the United States and NATO are in Afghanistan in the first place: To help the good people of that country defeat the Taliban extremists and their al-Qaeda allies.”
The Taliban are also holding two French nationals and three Afghan colleagues after abducting them on Tuesday in the southwestern province of Nimroz.
The province’s governor and police chief have said they were likely to have been moved to Helmand where Naqshbandi was killed. Helmand adjoins Nimroz.
Atal told AFP earlier Sunday that the Taliban would decide the fate of the French nationals once Naqshbandi’s case was over.
The rebels have not yet made any demand in return for the release of the French aid workers, who were working for the Terre d’Enfance (A World for Our Children).
The Taliban had its deadliest year in 2006 since its ousting in 2001 with hundreds of people killed, mostly militants but also local and foreign soldiers and civilians.
* Charles Johnson LGF comments: David Loyn probably doesn’t have to worry about meeting the same fate. With the adulatory reports he’s filing, his propaganda value is worth more to the Taliban than the joy they would take in slaughtering him.