Ear-chopping incident: victims narrate ordeal
The fighters chopped off ears of four people, including Khan and his 17 year-old son, for working on reconstruction projects in Zherai district of southern Kandahar province.
Khan was traveling in an auto rickshaw along with seven other labourers when they were intercepted by the insurgents. "They wanted to decapitate us all, but we begged them to spare our lives," Khan said. The three-wheeler was torched.
Belonging to Bala Murghab district of Badghis province, Khan has been living with his family at a camp for internally-displaced people in the district for the last four years.
"New shops are being constructed in the Zherai district bazaar, where we work as labourers for 500 afghanis a day," Khan told Pajhwok Afghan News in an interview.
With his head covered in bandage, he said, two gunmen stopped their rickshaw at 3pm on Thursday when they were returning home from work.
Later, several other gunmen arrived and took them to a nearby mountain. "As we travelled for half an hour, they took out daggers and said they are going to behead us. We started crying and begging them to spare us for God's sake.
"But they repeatedly branded us as infidels," Khan recalled. Finally, he said, the group leader asked the gunmen to spare three boys and cut off the ears of the rest."
When the gunmen left, he said, they started walking toward houses of nomadic Kuchis, but they were denied shelter. They reached the police headquarters at 11pm and police took them to hospital for medical treatment.
"When I returned home at midnight, my wife and children were waiting for me outside," the grey-bearded man continued.
Another victim, Nisar Ahmad, confirmed the militants intended behead them, but their cries and begging helped them. "Taliban snatched our cell phones and money and torched them," he claimed.
Khan's 17-year-old son, Mohammad Amin, said he should have been killed instead of his ears being cut off by the Taliban. His youth and life have been ruined, he deplored. He said the Taliban asked them to work on poppy fields.
Niaz Mohammad Sarhadi, the district chief, assailed the fighters for striking terror into people's hearts, particularly those working on reconstruction projects. He said thousands of people were employed on the projects after counterinsurgency operations in the district.
Governor Toryalai Wesa denounced the incident as contrary to Islamic teachings and Afghan traditions. Wesa, who provided compensation to the victims, asked rebel leaders to refrain from such inhuman acts.
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