LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan -- Authorities in Afghanistan have launched a search for a Taliban militant who allegedly forced his young sister to wear an explosives-packed vest for a suicide attack.
No attack involving the girl occurred.
The girl -- initially reported as 8
but now believed to be around 10 years old -- was detained by police in the southern province of Helmand.
Authorities have not displayed any explosives vest the girl may have been wearing.
Omar Zuwak, spokesman for the Helmand governor, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan on January 7 that a team has been appointed to investigate and to find the girl's brother, who has been described as a Taliban commander.
"We are further investigating the case," Zuwak said. "We summoned her family members and friends to learn exactly what happened and how she was forced by her brother to commit a suicide attack."
The girl, named as Spozhmay, said her brother and an associate coerced her into wearing an explosives vest for an attack.
She told reporters on January 6, however, that she had been unable to carry out their orders.
"My brother Zahir and his friend Jabar forced me to wear the suicide vest," Spozhmay said. "They also gave me extra black clothes to wear after crossing the water. They brought me near the river to cross at night, but when I saw the water and coldness I shouted and said that it was cold and I could not cross the water. Everyone in my family knew about this. They moved me back home and took off the vest from my body."
Spozhmay said she surrendered to police after her father beat her and she spent the night away from home.
She also spoke of difficulties involving her stepmother.
The Interior Ministry said Spozhmay was detained by police in the Khanashin district of Helmand Province on January 5.
"The girl whose name is Spozhmay was forced by two Taliban commanders to wear the suicide vest and blow up the police base," Hamidullah Sediqi is a commander of the border police force in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of Helmand, said. "One of the commanders is her brother. As you can see, this innocent girl, she shouldn't be doing this. No one and no religion allows her to do this."
Boys have sometimes been recruited as suicide bombers during the 12-year-old Afghan war, but female child suicide bombers are described as extremely rare in the conflict.
Experts say militants have recruited children as suicide bombers under the assumption it will be easier for them to evade security checkpoints to detonate their explosives.
Taliban militants have said their code of war prohibits any military use of children in the fight against the Afghan government and its NATO allies.
With reporting by AFP and Reuters