Monday 14 January 2013

Truth and fiction in Maidan Wardak

It's been a while since my last posting, so a belated happy new year to all. I start this year's postings with a mystery. The generally reputable, English-language, Khaama Press in Kabul - which calls itself the biggest online news organisation in Afghanistan - reported yesterday on the killing of a female social activist by the Taliban.
The report poses more questions than it answers. Quoting General Abdul Wali, the provincial security chief for Maidan Wardak Province, it says the Taliban "assassinated a female social activist and hanged her dead body on a tree in Chak district". The exact time of the incident is vague, but was reported as "about four days ago".
The article goes on to say that the unnamed woman's body had been found in Khwaja Omeri village in Chak district, where she has been working for an (unnamed) NGO. She had been "reportedly providing chickens, tailor machines and carpet waving equipments for the local residents in a bid to create employment opportunities" before she was murdered by Mullah Rohani, a local Taliban leader. According to (unnamed) villagers, she was also tortured before being shot dead and hung in a tree.
Another (unnamed) resident of the village contradicted this statement, saying the woman, who came from central Bamyan Province - and was therefore, presumably, a Shia Hazara woman - was working in a clinic when she was killed.
So we have an unnamed woman working for an unnamed NGO killed at an unspecified time for unspecified reasons. Either this is a fabrication, not unlike the alleged Taliban massacre of a group of 17 men and boys in Roshanabad in Helmand in August (see my report on that here), or it is an example of the sloppiest kind of journalism. Anyone know anything more?

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