World News

Acid attack puts Afghan journalist in hospital

KABUL (Reuters) - A veteran Afghan journalist was in hospital after an acid attack on the streets of Kabul, which may have been politically motivated, officials said on Wednesday.

Abdul Razaq Mamon, a presenter, commentator and author, was left with burns to his hands and face after acid was thrown at him while he was returning home.

The head of Kabul’s criminal investigation unit, Mohammed Zahir, said his teams were working to find the attacker. No one has claimed responsibility for the assault.

“The motive could be more political, rather than just a criminal attack,” he told Reuters.

President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack and called Mamon to discuss his condition.

The government is urgently trying to get him a visa so he can travel abroad for treatment, a spokesman for Karzai said.

Deputy culture minister Mobarez Rashedi said the attack was shocking and menacing.

“I think this attack has a negative impact on journalists and free speech in Afghanistan. The government is doing all it can to ... arrest the authors of this attack.” he told media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

In the south and east, where the Taliban control towns and villages, some girls have been attacked with acid for attending school but acid assaults are extremely rare in Kabul.

Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. At least 14 have been killed because of their work since the Taliban were ousted in 2001, according to Reporters Without Borders.

Last September, a prominent television journalist was brutally murdered near his home. Sayed Hamid Noori, an anchor for state network Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA), was stabbed repeatedly, but the motive for the attack remains unclear.

Reporting by Emma Graham-Harrison; editing by Philippa Fletcher