26 July 2011
Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan
Over the past several days there have been news stories here in Afghanistan about the Taliban strangling an 8-year-old boy. The reports say that his father refused to turn over a police vehicle to the enemy, and so they murdered his son. Late last night, a courageous Afghan journalist named Mustafa Kazemi emailed an image of the boy that Mustafa said had been murdered. Afghans are enraged. They hate this behavior as much as we do. The boy appears to have had his eyes gouged out before being strangled to death. This image is graphic. (please scroll down)
And so last night I walked to the Headquarters of 4-4CAV here in Zhari District, the most active district in Afghanistan at this time. I asked what was going on tonight. A noncommissioned officer filled me in on the day’s events. We had been in a minor ambush resulting in a slight injury and a damaged MRAP, so I knew about that one. But then he explained about a boy whom he said the Taliban forced to step on an IED just down the road from here. Apparently, according to Afghans, the Taliban may have been testing a new bomb made from a soda bottle. The boy’s name is Jalil, and our people estimate that Jalil is 6 to 8-years-old. Jalil was picking grapes with his brother when the Taliban, according to reporting, told the boy to step on the bomb. It blew off his right leg below the knee, leaving hamburger on the stump, and fractured his femur. Afghans brought Jalil to the nearby American base called COP Kolk, where 4-4CAV Soldiers treated him. A helicopter took Jalil and his father to Kandahar Airfield for advanced treatment.
I asked the Taliban spokesman for his take on this, and he emailed back that “It is enemy propaganda.” The evidence is against him.
I asked the Army to declassify the storyboard, and so they cleaned off some coordinates and other unimportant trivia, and here it is: