A grisly video circulating in Pakistan allegedly shows a child beheading Ghulam Nabi, a Pakistani militant accused of betraying a top Taliban official killed in a December air strike in Afghanistan.
The boy with the knife looks barely 12, according to reports. In a high-pitched voice, he denounces the bound, blindfolded man before him as an American spy. Then he appears to behead the captive, to cries of: “God is great!”
An Associated Press reporter confirmed Nabi’s identity by visiting his family in Kili Faqiran, their remote village in south-western Pakistan.
The video, obtained by AP Television News in the border city of Peshawar on Tuesday, appears authentic and is unprecedented in jihadist propaganda because of the youth of the executioner.
Captions mention Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban’s current top commander in southern Afghanistan, although he does not appear in the video. The soundtrack features songs praising Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar and “Sheikh Osama” - an apparent reference to Osama bin Laden, who is suspected of hiding along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
The footage shows Nabi making what is described as a confession, being blindfolded with a scarf.
“He is an American spy. Those who do this kind of thing will get this kind of fate,” says his baby-faced executioner, who is not identified.
A continuous two and a half-minute shot then shows the victim lying on his side on a patch of rubble-strewn ground. A man holds Nabi by his beard while the boy, wearing a camouflage military jacket and oversized white trainers, performs the beheading.
The film is played to a soundtrack of jihadi songs.
A Pashto-language voice-over in the video identifies Nabi and his home village of Kili Faqiran in Baluchistan province, which lies about two hours’ drive from the Afghan border.
“This is outright barbarism,” Iqbal Haider, secretary-general of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said after seeing the video.
“Whosoever has committed this, whether they are Taliban or anybody else or any Afghan or al-Qaida or anybody, they are enemy number one of the Muslims.”
The video accuses Nabi of responsibility for a US air strike that killed Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani, who was regarded as one of the top three associates of Omar, the Taliban supreme leader. He was hit while travelling by car in Afghanistan’s Helmand province on December 19.
Osmani was the highest-ranking Taliban leader to die since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan that ousted the hardline regime in late 2001 for refusing to hand over bin Laden following the terror attacks on the United States of September 11 2001.