Nabbed translator for Italian journalist beheaded

The kidnapped translator for an Italian journalist was beheaded on Sunday in southern Afghanistan, a purported spokesman for the Taliban said. The report could not be independently confirmed. Ajmal Nashqbandi, a freelance journalist and translator, was kidnapped along with Daniele Mastrogiacomo, of the Italian daily La Repubblica, and a driver in southern Helmand province on March 5. The driver was beheaded, and Mastrogiacomo was released March 19 in a much criticized swap for five Taliban militants. The Taliban made a similar demand in return for the release of Nashqbandi. "We asked for two Taliban commanders to be released in exchange for Ajmal Nashqbandi, but the government did not care for our demands, and today, at 3:05 p.m., we beheaded Ajmal in Garmsir district of Helmand province," said Shahabuddin Atal, who claimed to be a spokesman for regional Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah, known for his cruelty.