AFGHANISTAN: Television airs footage of Taliban beheading

Reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo's driver and translotor were beheaded

Times of India
Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rome --- An Italian television channel has aired footage of the beheading of a driver of an Italian journalist, who was held for about two weeks by Afghanistan's Taliban militants until Kabul negotiated his release.

The RAI-1 channel on Tuesday beamed images of Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, his driver Sayed Agha and his interpreter Ajmal Naqshbandi, kneeling blindfolded before some gun-wielding militants.

It then showed Agha being beheaded following which a shaken Mastrogiacomo made an impassioned appeal to Italian authorities to "do something," while underlining that the situation was "very difficult".

The Taliban members have also beheaded Mastrogiacomo's interpreter, who was also a journalist.

The Italian journalist was freed on March 19 after Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered the release of five Taliban prisoners under a controversial deal.

Kidnapping has increasingly become a tactic of the Taliban, who have been waging a guerrilla-style insurgency since they were ousted from power in late 2001 by US-led forces.

Ban condemns killings in Afghanistan

New York --- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the "senseless murder" of an Afghan interpreter by the Taliban militants and attacks that killed Canadian troops, Afghan de-miners and civilians, including children.

Afghan interpreter Ajmal Naqshbandi, who was captured with an Italian journalist last month, was reportedly beheaded on Sunday in the southern Helmand province by Taliban militants while the journalist was freed.

Ban on Tuesday said in a statement that he "strongly condemns such acts of violence" and called on the Afghan government and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the country to redouble efforts to ensure stability and respect for human rights.

On Sunday, a bomb attack killed six Canadian troops of ISAF, and six Afghan de-miners were killed in the Farah province. On April 1, a suicide bomber killed nine civilians, including five children in Laghman province.