British reporter attacked by Afghan refugees

New York, December 10, 2001—On December 8, Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for the London daily Independent, was severely beaten by Afghan refugees in the village of Kila Abdullah in western Pakistan.

Fisk, his Independent colleague Justin Huggler, driver Amanullah, and translator Fayyaz Ahmed were driving past Kila Abdullah, near the Afghan border, when their car broke down. A large crowd gathered around the car and started throwing stones and hitting Huggler and Fisk. As the two reporters tried to board a bus, Fisk was dragged off, beaten, and kicked by about 60 men. The assailants were mostly Afghan refugees, according to Fisk.

In a report published December 10 in the Independent, Fisk wrote that, “Pebbles and small stones began to bounce off my head and shoulders….My head was suddenly struck by stones on both sides at the same time….Then a fist punched me in the face, splintering my glasses on my nose, another hand grabbed at the spare pair of spectacles round my neck and ripped the leather container from the cord.”

Fisk was rescued when a man escorted him away from the skirmish and into a police van. The police brought him to a Red Cross­Red Crescent convoy, where he received medical treatment. He is now recovering in Pakistan. Huggler was not harmed.

“What had happened to us was symbolic of the hatred and fury and hypocrisy of this filthy war, a growing number of destitute Afghan men, young and old, who saw foreigners—enemies—in their midst and tried to destroy at least one of them,” Fisk wrote.