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Attackers gouge out Afghan man's eyes

Attackers gouge out Afghan man's eyes

Armed assailants attacked a man and gouged out his eyes in front of his family during a gruesome assault in southern Afghanistan, officials said Sunday.
The man, Sayed Ghulam, is recovering in a hospital in the country's largest southern city, Kandahar.
Ghulam, 52, said three armed men knocked on his door in the Sangin district of Helmand province late Thursday. After he opened the door, they punched him in the face, put the barrel of a Kalashnikov rifle in his mouth and gouged out his eyes with a knife in the presence of his wife and seven children.
"I was crying, along with my children and wife, who was screaming for help, but they didn't listen," Ghulam told The Associated Press from his hospital room in Kandahar.
Ghulam, a farmer who said he raises wheat and popcorn, said he does not know why he was attacked. "I don't have any enemies. But they were not letting me talk. They put the AK-47 in my mouth and they were punching me."
Daoud Ahmadi, the spokesman for Helmand's governor, blamed Taliban fighters for the attack, saying that the militants often kill innocent Afghans.
"This guy Ghulam was just a normal man, a farmer," Ahmadi said. "He didn't have any link with the government or NATO forces. He was a normal man but these killers took out his eyes in front of his family. I don't know what kind of heart these killers have."
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi denied that Taliban fighters were involved. "Whenever we carry out an attack we claim responsibility," Ahmadi said. "We didn't gouge out this man's eyes."
Ghulam, who has a black beard and whose head is almost completely wrapped in a large white bandage, said his attackers were wearing black turbans on their head like many Taliban fighters, but that he didn't know who carried out the attack.
Taliban militants sometimes carry out harsh punishments for people they accuse of being thieves or "spies" for the Afghan government. Such punishments include having hands cut off or being tarred and paraded publicly, but few reports of people having their eyes gouged out have surfaced in Afghanistan in recent years.
In Kabul, two high-profile Afghan kidnapping victims were freed by intelligence officials Sunday after being discovered in a well where their captors had kept them, officials said.
Captors had demanded $5 million each for Humayun Shah Asifi, a former presidential candidate in the country's 2004 elections, and a second hostage, the son of the owner of a major bank chain, said Amrullah Saleh, chief of Afghanistan's intelligence department. The two, abducted separately, had been held for less than a week.
Officials arrested eight people suspected of being involved in the kidnappings, he said.
Kidnapping of high-profile and wealthy Afghans is a growing problem. Criminal gangs demand high ransoms for the release of their hostages. The kidnapping crime wave has caused some Afghan businessmen to flee the country.
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Associated Press writer Amir Shah contributed to this report from Kabul.


Updated : 2021-05-09 16:54 GMT+08:00