A 33-year-old Afghan policewoman was left blind after gunmen attacked her in Ghazni for “working”, police confirmed.
Khatera said the last thing she saw was three men on a motorcycle who then shot at her and stabbed her in the eyes with a knife.
Speaking to Reuters, Khatera said when she woke up in hospital everything was dark.
“I asked the doctors, why I can’t see anything? They told me that my eyes are still bandaged because of the wounds. But at that moment, I knew my eyes had been taken from me,” she said.
Both Khatera and local authorities blame the incident on Taliban insurgents who they say were following a tip-off from her father – who was vehemently opposed to her working outside the home.
Khatera had only worked for the Ghazni police in the crime branch for a few months but had always dreamed of having a career, Reuters reported.
“I wish I had served in police at least a year. If this had happened to me after that, it would have been less painful. It happened too soon … I only got to work and live my dream for three months,” she told Reuters.
Rights activists have said the attack on Khatera is indicative of a growing trend against women having jobs.
Khatera said she had tried to convince her father to let her work outside the home for years – but to no avail. Eventually, Khatera’s husband agreed to allow her to join the police force.
But, according to Reuters, her father continued to oppose the idea.
Khatera’s dream as a child was to work outside the home and after years of trying to convince her father, to no avail, she was able to find support from her husband.
But her father, she said, did not give up on his opposition.
“Many times, as I went to duty, I saw my father following me … he started contacting the Taliban in the nearby area and asked them to prevent me from going to my job,” she said.
She said that he provided the Taliban with a copy of her ID card to prove she worked for police and that he had called her throughout the day she was attacked, asking for her location.
Ghazni’s police spokesman confirmed they believed the Taliban were behind the attack and that Khatera’s father had been taken into custody. Reuters was unable to reach him directly for comment.
A Taliban spokesman meanwhile told Reuters it was a family matter and they were not involved.
Khatera and her family, including five children, are now in hiding in Kabul.
Cholera cases rising in Takhar
Cholera and diarrhea cases are rising among children and adults in Afghanistan’s northern Takhar province, local officials said.
Abdul Qahar Ahadi, provincial health director, said that more than 20,000 patients suffering from various diseases visited public health facilities during the past two months, which is unprecedented.
Takhar’s main hospital meanwhile said that most of the visitors were treated for cholera and diarrhea.
Hayatullah Imami, an official at Takhar hospital, said that 30 percent of patients visiting the facility daily were suffering from diarrhea.
Cholera is an acute diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with Vibrio cholerae bacteria.
People can get sick when they swallow food or water contaminated with the cholera bacteria. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but can sometimes be severe and life-threatening.
India records spike in daily COVID cases and 21 deaths in 24 hours
India logged 17,073 new COVID-19 cases early Monday morning, raising its tally to 43,407,046, and 21 deaths in the past 24 hours, the health ministry reported.
The death toll now stands at 525,020.
The national COVID-19 recovery rate was 98.57 percent, the ministry said.
Pakistan’s ministry of health meanwhile reported Monday that it had recorded 382 new cases in the last 24 hours.
This took Pakistan’s COVID-19 total case count to over 1.53 million. Two deaths were also reported in the past 24 hours.
However, experts say Pakistan may potentially witness another COVID-19 wave as the country continues to see an uptick in new cases.
Polio vaccination campaign rolls out in western Afghanistan
More than one million Afghan children are expected to be vaccinated over the next few days in the latest polio vaccination campaign that was launched in western Afghanistan on Sunday.
Officials said the campaign will run for four days and be conducted across four provinces in the western region.
Waheed Rahmani, head of the vaccination campaign, said that 1.1 million children under the age of five are expected to receive the polio drops, including 720,000 in Herat province.
He said that so far there are no obstacles in the way of rolling out the campaign.
Volunteers said that they hope to reach all the children who need to be vaccinated.
“I along with my team will work honestly to make Afghanistan free from polio virus,” said Fina Nezami, a volunteer.
“I hope that Afghanistan becomes polio-free and we are happy to go door to door for vaccinations,” said Yagana Nabizada, another volunteer.
Local health officials have assured the public that all areas will be covered by the campaign.
“We have not forgotten areas, and while planning vaccination programs, all the areas are reviewed and if any area is left out, it will be immediately covered,” said Mohammad Asif Kabir, provincial deputy health director.
Around 728,000 children received polio drops in the previous campaign in Herat. Around 5,000 volunteers are involved in the current campaign in Herat.
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