When the Taliban are loose, no one is safe -- not even 70-year-old men. Waris Khan, a 70-year-old baker from Pakistan, found that out to his woe when he was decapitated at the start of this month by the Taliban, who claimed the septuagenerian was a spy. Human rights groups have responded with outrage, as have the local tribes.
According to his friends, "Waris Khan had always lived a clean life and confined himself to a limited number of friends.” Unfortunately, more information has been difficult to procure due to the terror Taliban enforcers are held in by locals. The murder of Khan may have even been an attempt to consolidate Taliban influence, as a pamphlet found near his corpse warned that the same fate awaited anyone who dared to "spy on the Taliban."
That was certainly the interpretation that multiple political parties and tribal elders adopted when questioned about the incident. Central Asia Online reports:
Such killings are meant to terrorise rather than to enforce justice, since mostly tribesmen of unblemished character have been killed, said Abdur Rahim, the FATA leader of the Awami National Party.
“A personal vendetta ... could be a factor ... but in most cases militants carry out such executions to stifle criticism,” he said.
Other sources quickly condemned this act not only on political grounds, but on religious ones. Allama Noor ul Haq Qadri, a tribal religious scholar, had some especially choice words. "They are involved in the killing of innocent people and ... confessed to the crimes they had committed against those who raised their voices against such inhuman and un-Islamic acts,” he said.