Wed, Jan 08, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Afghan police hunt for Taliban brother of ‘bomb girl’

AFP, KANDAHAR, Afghanistan

A handout photograph shows 10-year-old Spozhmai, right, who was allegedly to be used as a suicide bomber, sitting next to a police officer at a police office in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on Monday.

Photo: AFP / Afghan Border Police

Afghan police yesterday searched for a Taliban commander who allegedly forced his 10-year-old sister to wear an explosives-packed vest for an aborted suicide attack in the southern province of Helmand.

The Afghan Ministry of the Interior said the girl, named as Spozhmai, was detained before she detonated the vest near a police checkpoint in the district of Khanashin, but some local officials said the trigger button did not work when she pressed it.

Speaking on Monday at a press conference, the girl said she had been ordered by her brother to undertake the suicide mission, but had decided at the last minute not to go through with it.

“I was tired of my stepmother. My brother told me to wear the black vest, go to the police checkpoint and press the button,” she told local reporters. “I went past a river and decided to drop the vest. My brother fled and police arrested me. He had told me nothing would happen to me.”

During the press conference with local media in the Helmand provincial capital of Lashkar Gah, the girl — wearing a blue dress and red and grey headscarf — spoke briefly about the incident on Sunday night.

“We have appointed a team to investigate this,” Helmand governor’s spokesman Omar Zwak said. “They will try to find the brother and father of the girl, and they will visit the police post and talk to the police who found and detained the girl.

Zwak said the girl gave police varying versions of the events, at one stage saying that she had crossed the river alone and got cold and wet before being arrested and then secretly returning home to put on dry clothes.

She did not explain why the police allowed her home.

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