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Taliban cuts off ears of 4 workers
They were punished for working with foreigners
By Farzad Lameh
KABUL – The Taliban cut both ears off each of four men working on a development project in Zherai District, Kandahar Province March 10.
“We asked the gunmen for mercy and our release, but they … took a knife and started cutting off our ears,” a 70-year-old survivor said. “They broke my dentures too, because they hit my face so hard.”
“Before they start cutting our ears, they wanted to behead us because of our work with the foreigners,” Ali Ahmad, one of the victims said. “But we told them we are poor suffering people who came here to work.
The men told the Pajhwok Afghan News agency they were building shops at the Zheray district bazaar, part of a reconstruction programme, and earning 500 Afghanis (US $11) a day. They said they were on their way back to a refugee camp when they were abducted.
The kidnappers also beat up their victims before freeing them, Haji Niaz Muhammad Sarhadi, governor of Zherai District, told Central Asia Online.
One of the men, 17-year-old Mohammad Amin told Pajhwok he wishes he had been killed because his life has been ruined by the mutilation. He said the Taliban suggested they work for them cultivating poppy fields.
About 3,000 people have relocated to Zherai to work on construction projects, Sarhadi said.
The Afghan parliament condemned the four men’s maiming and demanded authorities immediately track down their assailants.
Abdul Rahim Ayubi, a member of the lower chamber of parliament, described the incident as anti-Islamic.
“They (militants) who cut off (the men’s) ears are not Muslims because a Muslim never does this,” Ayubi said. “I strongly condemn this action.”
“This is not the first time (ear amputations have happened),” Jamil Karzai, a former MP, told Central Asia Online. “It is a cowardly and cruel act by the Taliban and their supporters.”
Amputations and stoning of women have often been attributed to Taliban militants in Afghanistan, who give themselves the authority to prosecute, convict and punish suspected offenders.
A Taliban spokesman denied they were responsible for maiming the men.