Afghan President Hamid Karzai instructed the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday to return a 10-year-old girl to her family after she was arrested a day earlier for attempting to carry out a suicide attack in Helmand province.
President Karzai conditioned her return on the promise by her family, to be made in front of tribal elders, that the girl would be guaranteed improved living conditions comparable to those afforded other children.
Umar Zwak, the spokesman for the governor of Helmand province, says that 10 year-old Spozhmai has offered varying accounts of her ordeal which has authorities questioning her story. In both versions, she alleges that her brother Zahir, locally known as Hameed Sahib, a local Taliban commander, was responsible.
In an account the girl gave to reporters, she stated, "My brother Zahir and his friend Jabar forced me to wear the suicide vest." When she refused to cross a cold river to the targeted police station, "They moved me back home and (took) off the vest from my body. My father beat me. I had to run away from home in the middle of the night and spent the rest of night in a village nearby to our home" before surrendering to police the next day.
Zwak relayed to CNN another version Spozhmai gave to police. In that version, her brother and his friend warned her at the river "if you come back alive, we will kill you." She then crossed the river, removed the suicide vest, and screamed. With no one around to hear her, she went to an abandoned building for shelter and then turned herself into the police at the station she was supposed to attack.