In one of the most disturbing images ever broadcast on a television news station, the Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV network yesterday aired parts of a video of the beheading of an Afghan man, Ghulam Nabi, by a 12-year-old boy.
The video footage shows Mr Nabi being blindfolded and then allegedly confessing to providing the US with information that led to a US air strike on a senior Taliban leader last December. The 12-year-old boy, acting on behalf of the Taliban, lifts up a large knife, denounces Mr Nabi as a spy, and then hacks off his head. The crowd of men and boys watching shout “God is great!” as the boy hoists up the dead man’s head by the hair and blood gushes out.
The father of Mr Nabi, who lives in Pakistan and who confirmed that his son was the man killed in the video, said his son had been “a loyal member of the Taliban”.
Al-Arabiya is a 24-hour Arabic-language news channel broadcasting across five continents to tens of millions of viewers. It is consistently rated among the top pan-Arab stations, and is the main Arabic language competitor to Qatar-based al-Jazeera TV.
Al-Arabiya is more moderate than other Arab TV networks, and is the only station in the Arab world that does not call suicide bombers “martyrs.”