2 children in Afghanistan beheaded in Taliban strongholds

Marine Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson shows Afghan police recruits the proper shooting position when firing a weapon during a training session on June 27, 2009 in Delaram, Afghanistan.

Two Afghan children aged seven and 12 have been beheaded in separate incidents in parts of the country controlled by the Taliban, Reuters reported today, citing local officials and police.

The 12-year-old boy in southern Kandahar province was kidnapped and murdered on Wednesday, provincial governor Jawid Faisal was quoted as saying.

UPI said local media reported the boy was targeted because his older brother was a member of the US-trained Afghan Local Police.

In the eastern province of Kapisa, a seven-year-girl was beheaded and her legs cut off on Thursday, but Voice of America reported authorities were not sure if the gruesome murder was committed by the girl’s family or the Taliban.

Amnesty International condemned the killings and called for a thorough investigation.

“These two acts of despicable killings of children in Kandahar and Kapisa provinces must be subject to prompt, independent and thorough investigations – those responsible must be held to account in trials that meet international standards of fairness, without use of the death penalty," Amnesty International Asia-Pacific Deputy Director Polly Truscott said in a statement.

The incidents come a few days after the decapitated bodies of 15 men and two women were found in a small town in the southern province of Helmand following a dance party attended by both sexes.

Local officials said the revelers were murdered by the Taliban.

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