Kandahar – Rescuers were desperately scrambling on Thursday to reach a nine-year-old boy trapped for two days down a well in a remote southern Afghan village.
The operation in Shokak village, Zabul province, comes less than two weeks after a similar attempt to rescue a child from a Moroccan well gripped the world – but ended with the boy found dead.
Video shared on social media – including by officials of Afghanistan’s new Taliban government – showed a boy named as Haidar wedged in the well, able to move his arms and upper body.
“Are you okay my son?” his father can be heard saying.
“Talk with me and don’t cry, we are working to get you out.”
“Okay, I’ll keep talking,” the boy replies in a plaintive voice.
The video was obtained by rescuers lowering a camera down the narrow well by rope.
Local officials said the boy appeared trapped about ten metres (33-feet) down the 25 metre shaft.
“A team is there with an ambulance, oxygen and other necessary things,” tweeted Abdullah Azzam, secretary to Deputy Prime Minister Abdulghani Barada.
Rescuers were digging an open slit trench from an angle at the surface to try to reach the point where the boy is trapped.
It appeared similar engineering to what rescuers attempted in Morocco in early February, when a boy fell down a 32 metre well, but was found dead five days later.
The ordeal of “little Rayan” gained global attention and sparked an outpouring of sympathy online, with the Arabic Twitter hashtag #SaveRayan trending.