KABUL, Afghanistan: The Taliban denied Tuesday that they sent a 10-year-old girl to stage a suicide attack against Afghan police after the girl claimed her brother, who was identified as a Taliban commander, had wrapped her in an explosives-packed vest.
Border police in southern Helmand province arrested the girl's father and were searching for the brother, named Zahir, who had escaped with the suicide vest, a commander said.
"The guy named Zahir had the suicide vest and escaped, but she was still there and when our commander of the battalion heard her voice, they surrounded the area and brought this girl to their base, and we all heard her story on how she was forced into this action," Col. Hamidullah Sediqi Sediqi said.
The girl, who identified herself only as Spozhmai, told police her brother told her to approach a checkpoint in southern Helmand province and ask the deputy commander for a ride with him to neighboring Kunar province. I agreed then he attached the vest on my body and told me to spend the night here and leave in the morning." But she says she refused to carry out the attack the next day.
"I said I won't go, then he took off the vest and tried to convince me that they (police) will die and I will remain alive," Spozhmai said.
The girl spoke to television cameras after police detained her on Monday.
Afghanistan's Interior Ministry announced the girl's detention in a statement Monday, saying she was 10 years old and describing her brother as a "Taliban commander." But Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahamdi denied any involvement in the case.
Afghan president Hamid Karzai condemned the action, calling it "un-Islamic."