A group of Afghan policemen have been arrested after one of them killed a group of six boys while fishing with a rocket-propelled grenade, the New York Times reports. Three of them were related to the mayor of Drumbak village, where the incident took place.
Fishing with grenades might sound like a strange way to have fun, but it is common practice in Afghanistan, Qasim Hamayoun, an official with the National Environmental Protection Agency, told the paper.
Sometimes people will use electricity to stun their dinner – I’ve seen men fish with live wires in remote Vietnamese villages, so this crude technique is not restricted to Afghanistan.
The policemen were fishing on one side of the Larkhab River in Northern Afghanistan when one of them, the son of a powerful warlord, threw a grenade that landed amid a group of children who were playing 50 yards away – on the opposite bank.
Six boys were killed immediately and another boy and a girl were wounded.
“General Andarabi, reached by telephone, confirmed that his son was being held in connection with the episode, but maintained that the children had accidentally detonated a piece of unexploded ordinance, and that his son was not on duty at the time,” writes Rod Nordland.
The Mayor, meanwhile, said the children were killed “like birds.”
In Cyprus, Egypt and Lebanon and other countries in the Middle East, that’s no idle comment. Birds (and other wildlife like wolves and antelope) are killed indiscriminately – sometimes as many as one million – for either a delicacy, in the former’s case, or even natural viagra.
And – as is true in Baghlan Province, where the environmental protection agency has been unable to persuade the local populace to stop using grenades and rockets to fish – nobody is serious enough to police the issue.
General Andarabi has promised that his son will be attended to in accordance with the law of Afghanistan, and that he will support whatever the government deems necessary.
Map of Afghanistan, Shutterstock