Al Qaeda and the Taliban have never been known for their sensitivity; and they will do what

it takes to brainwash as many of the gullible and disenfranchised as it can into subscribing to their twisted cause. Its weapons of choice seem to be propaganda videos of increasing production values. Their latest effort, however, touches a new low – even for them. The boy with the knife looks barely 12. In a high-pitched voice, he denounces the bound, blindfolded man before him as an American spy. Then, with gruesome patience and deliberateness, he saws through thehead of his captive, to the mandatory cries of “God is great!” The most chilling moment in the video is the look of joy and satisfaction on the boy’s face, as he grabs his grisly trophy by the hair; and hoists it triumphantly in front of the camera. A video circulating in Pakistan records the grisly death of Ghulam Nabi, a Pakistani militant accused of betraying a top Taliban official who was killed in a December air strike in Afghanistan. An Associated Press reporter confirmed Nabi’s identity by visiting his family in Kili Faqiran, their remote village in southwestern Pakistan. The video, obtained by AP Television News, in the border city of Peshawar on Tuesday, appears authentic and is unprecedented in jihadi propaganda because of the youth of the executioner. Captions mention Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban’s current top commander in southern Afghanistan, although he does not appear in the video. The soundtrack features songs praising Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar and “Sheikh Osama”, an apparent reference to Osama bin Laden, who is suspected of hiding along the Afghan-Pakistan border. The footage shows Nabi making what is described as a confession, being blindfolded with a scarf. “He is an American spy. Those who do this kind of thing will get this kind of fate,” says his baby-faced executioner, who is not identified. A 2 1/2-minute shot shows the victim lying on his side on rubble-strewn ground. A man holds Nabi by his beard while the boy, wearing a camouflage military jacket and sneakers, cuts into the throat. Other men and boys call out “Allahu Akbar!” as blood spurts from the wound. The most horrific aspect of this latest macabre propaganda tool is its target audience. The Taliban and Al Qaeda have, of course, always laid the seeds of their perverted ideology in the minds of dispossessed and disillusioned young boys studying in their madrassas (religious schools). But heretofore, they have relied on massive doses of their version of Islam to brainwash young minds; and make them right for plucking, when they are deemed old enough to carry a gun or hoist a rocket-propelled grenade. Now the age limit seems to have been lowered. Al Qaeda seems to be directly targeting boys as young as 12. And, in this century of video games and other mandatory stimulation, they are being very savvy in using a method that will have the most immediate impact – video. Do not be surprised if this abomination receives a few million hits on You Tube. Most of those watching it may recoil in horror and revulsion, but there could be a few hundred to whom the beheading will appear ‘cool’. As Columbine and Virginia Tech have shown, there are some sick minds out there – not necessarily Muslim – who are looking to make a ‘statement’; and to whom this will appear a great way to gain the notoriety they crave.