Taliban Beheaded Two Afghan Boys, Afghan Officials Say

June 10, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

The Taliban was accused of beheading two Afghan boys–reportedly killed to send a warning to villagers to not cooperate with the government, said officials on Monday.

The boys, aged 10 and 16, were discovered dead in the province of Kandahar, police spokesman Ghorzang Afridi told AFP.

“The children used to go to a police checkpoint to collect food and other things thrown away by police, so the Taliban thought they were spies and abducted them and beheaded them,” said Afridi.

He described the two as “poor children” who sustained themselves on “collecting scraps and leftovers.” Villagers found their bodies in a remote area in Zhari district.

However, the Taliban denied responsibility for killing the two.

Spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi told the BBC that the militant organization did not behead any children in the region.

Last year, a 16-year-old boy was accused by the Taliban of spying. He was beheaded and skinned, reported Reuters. Several weeks later, a 6-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl were kidnapped and beheaded.

In recent days, Taliban leaders have tried to discipline members in Pakistan and Afghanistan after the incidents.

“The government does this to distract from attacks such as in Kabul this morning,” Ahmadi said told AFP. There was a Taliban attack on the Kabul airport on Monday near a NATO base.