2012/02/23

Afghan journalist beheaded: official

KHOST, February 22, 2012 (AFP) - An Afghan radio reporter was beheaded in the insurgency-plagued southeastern province of Paktika after being lured to a meeting by unidentified men, an official said Wednesday.

The body of Samid Khan Bahadarzai, 25, who worked for a local radio station in the town of Urgun, was found Tuesday night near his home just hours after he received the call.

"We are investigating to find out who is behind this brutal beheading, but he was killed after receiving a call by someone asking him out," provincial police chief Dawlat Khan Zadran told AFP.

Journalists have in the past been targeted by Taliban insurgents who objected to their reporting, but a Taliban spokesman told the Afghan Islamic Press news agency that it was not responsible for Bahadarzai's death.

"Mujahideen never kill journalists," said Zabiullah Mujahid. "The Taliban can resolve matters with the journalists by talking to them directly."

In 2007, Afghan reporter and interpreter Ajmal Naqshbandi was beheaded after being left behind when an Italian journalist hostage was freed by the Taliban.