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Taliban 'Hacked Off Fingers' To Stop People Voting In Afghanistan Election

16/06/2014 15:10 BST | Updated 16/06/2014 15:59 BST

The Taliban have been hacking off people's fingers to stop them voting in Afghanistan's presidential election - or as a punishment for having done so.

Writing exclusively for The Huffington Post, Mohammed Subhan, a teacher and translator who works in the country, said the Taliban had hacked off the index fingers of 20 men in Herat around a week before the election.

Voters in Afghanistan have their index fingers marked with blue ink to show they have cast their ballot. Subhan wrote the men still voted but had their middle fingers inked instead.

afghanistan election

Afghans went to vote for their next president on Saturday

He wrote: "I watched them... holding up their right hands, their severed index fingers swathed in bandages, their still intact middle fingers stained with the blue ink which indicated they had all voted. One elder growled into the camera: 'They can cut off all my fingers - I'll still vote!'"

The Taliban also cut off the fingers of 11 people who voted in western Harat as a punishment, the BBC reported.

As voting took place on Saturday, a series of attacks killed around 50 people, including five election workers whose minibus was destroyed by a roadside bomb.

Security has been a major issue at the election, with the last US soldiers due to leave the country by the end of 2016.

Subhan wrote: "I have a plea for President Obama. His announcement that America would pull out totally by December 2016 hit us like a punch in the stomach.

"You have achieved so much here - you haven't lost - this campaign wasn't a disaster - you've actually won - have you become so used to defeat that you don't you recognize victory anymore?

"When more than seven million vote in a well- organised election - yes, there will be accusations of corruption - remember the 'hanging chads'?

"When seven million vote despite threats from the Taliban - when they vote even after the index fingers of their right hands have been severed - it means that you actually did something right!"