Taliban Cut Off Fingers of 2 Afghan Voters
KABUL — Taliban militants cut off the ink-stained fingers of two Afghan voters in the militant south during the presidential election, the country's top election monitoring group said Saturday.
Two voters who had dipped their index fingers in purple ink — a fraud prevention measure — were attacked in Kandahar province shortly after voting Thursday, said Nader Nadery, the head of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan. Kandahar is the spiritual birthplace of the Taliban.
Rumors that militants would cut off voters' ink-stained fingers spread before the vote. A Taliban spokesman had said militants would not carry out such attacks, but the Taliban is a loose organization of individual commanders who could carry out the threat on their own.
Millions of Afghans voted in the country's second-ever direct presidential election, although Taliban threats and attacks appeared to hold down the turnout, especially in the south where President Hamid Karzai was expected to run strongly among his fellow Pashtuns. At least 26 Afghan civilians and security forces died in dozens of militant attacks.