Afghan girl forced by family to try to blow up checkpoint

Girl says she was ‘treated like a slave’ and would rather kill herself than return home

An Afghan security official  sits next to an young alleged suicide bomber detained by the Afghan police officials in Helmand, Afghanistan. Photograph: Watan Yar/EPA

An Afghan security official sits next to an young alleged suicide bomber detained by the Afghan police officials in Helmand, Afghanistan. Photograph: Watan Yar/EPA

 


An Afghan girl has told the BBC that she was beaten and forced by her family to try to blow up a border police checkpoint in Helmand province.

The girl, believed to be 10 and known as Spozhmai, told the BBC that her father and brother had hit her and then ordered her to put on a suicide vest.

The interior ministry said the girl had been taken into protective custody in the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, after an Afghan soldier discovered her wearing the vest last Monday.

It is thought the girl is a sister of a prominent Taliban commander, who police said encouraged her to carry out the attack.

She has appealed to Afghan president Hamid Karzai to put her in a new home. A presidential spokeswoman said tribal elders needed to guarantee the safety of the girl and her before she would be returned to relatives.

She told the Newsday programme that her brother promised that only her targets would die but she was scared to carry out the attack.

Spozhmai said she had been ordered home by her father but refused. “I said: ‘No, I will kill myself rather than go with you’,” she said. “The same thing will happen again.

“They have told me before, ‘If you don’t do it this time, we will make you do it again’.”

The girl said she had been treated badly in her home and had not been allowed to learn to read and write.

“I did all the things at home, I cooked, I cleaned the whole house and they would treat me badly as if I was a slave,” Spozhmai said.

She has pleaded with Mr Karzai to put her in a “ good place”. “I won’t go back there. God didn’t make me to become a suicide bomber.”

Mr Karzai has condemned the Taliban over the alleged plot, however the group has denied any involvement.