The top United Nations official in Afghanistan today strongly condemned what appears to be punishment doled out by the Taliban to nearly a dozen of people who had their index fingers cut off after voting in the presidential run-off.
“Like millions of their countrymen and women, these ordinary Afghans were exercising their fundamental right to determine the future path of their country through voting and not through violence and intimidation,” the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ján Kubiš, said in a statement.
He added that by voting, they had already defeated “those who promote terror and violence”.
The 11 victims, who were attacked after casting ballots in the western province of Herat, were interviewed by human rights monitors from the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA). A finger dipped in ink is proof that the person voted, and meant to prevent voters from casting more than one ballot.
Mr. Kubiš, who heads UNAMA, said such “inhuman cruelty against Afghan civilians” are manifestations of weakness and desperation.
“They know they have lost the support of the Afghan people,” he added.
In today's statement, UNAMA reiterated that attacks directed against civilians, including mutilations, are serious violations of international humanitarian law which parties to the armed conflict – including all anti-Government elements – must uphold.
About 60 per cent of the country's 12 million eligible voters turned out to vote yesterday, according to initial estimates from the Independent Election Commission.
In a statement after the voting ended, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lauded the participation of men and women across the country for demonstrating their commitment to shaping the future of their country and to rejecting violence and intimidation.