A 7-year-old boy was murdered by the Taliban in an apparent act of retribution this week. Afghan officials said that the child was accused of spying for U.S. and NATO forces and hanged from a tree in southern Afghanistan.
Daoud Ahmadi, the spokesman for the provincial governor of Helmand, said that the killing happened days after the boy's grandfather, Abdul Woodod Alokozai, spoke out against militants in their home village.
Ahmadi said: "His grandfather is a tribal elder in the village and the village is under the control of the Taliban. His grandfather said some good things about the government and he formed a small group of people to stand against the Taliban. That's why the Taliban killed his grandson in revenge."
Shamsuddin Khan Faryie, an elder in the boy's home village of Heratiyan, said that the victim was seized as he played in his garden. He was found hanged from a nearby tree.
The killing of children to punish their families has echoes of Western mafia-style violence. Under Pashtunwali, the ancient honor code of the Pashtuns, it is likely to provoke more vendettas and blood-letting.