Taliban beheadings – update
By Tim Foxley
AFGHAN president Hamid Karzai has accused the Taleban of beheading 17 villagers, including two women, in a gruesome attack recalling the dark days of the hardline group’s rule before their 2001 fall from power.
He ordered a full investigation into the “mass killing” in volatile Helmand province, which a local official said was punishment to revellers attending a party with music and mixed-sex dancing.
“This attack shows that there are irresponsible members among the Taleban,” Mr Karzai said in a statement yesterday.
The Taleban denied being involved in the attack, which Mr Karzai’s office said took place in Kajaki district.
It seems President Karzai has ordered a “full investigation” but, before it completes this (and I really don’t have a good feeling about how “complete” an Afghan government investigation would be anyway), he has already decided who is to blame. To reiterate, I am certainly not avoiding the possibility (and perhaps even probability) of Taliban involvement, but just that, as I suggested yesterday, there is already confusion emerging within the little we know thus far about what may have happened.
In addition, if Karzai does believe that the Taliban are to blame, then his language – “…there are irresponsible members among the Taliban” (one translation has him saying “desperate”) does not seem particularly harsh or critical. Particularly when you compare it to the language he uses when ISAF accidentally kill civilians. It is clearly easier – and more populist – to blame the foreign presence.