The Taliban allegedly cut off the fingers of at least two Afghan women that voted in last week’s presidential election. Election officials confirmed that the two women voted in the southern province of Kandahar and that they are investigating reports of a third incident in the eastern part of the country, reported Los Angeles Times. Voters’ right index fingers were dipped in ink in an intended fraud prevention measure.
According to the National Democratic Institute, extremist election-day violence erupted primarily in the south and southeast regions of Afghanistan, particularly repressing voter turnout among women. Across the country, at least 650 women’s polling stations never opened, in part because there was a dearth of women to staff the locations. Nader Nadery, president of the Free and Fair Elections Foundation of Afghanistan told the Associated Press.
Violence against women also preceded the election. According to the New York Times, women candidates were unable to campaign in certain parts of the country due to security concerns. Only three women ran for the four women-reserved seats on Kandahars provincial council. None of the women lived in Kandahar during their campaigns. In April, Sitara Achakzai, a Kandahar provincial council member and women’s rights activist, was murdered by gunmen outside her home. Another woman on the Kandahar provincial council, Zarghona Kakar, had survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2007.