Prominent Afghan reporter attacked with acid

New York, January 19, 2011The Committee to Protect Journalists is greatly concerned about the acid attack on Afghan journalist and author Razaq Mamoon, which left him disfigured. Local and international media reports say Mamoon was attacked as he was walking outside his apartment in Kabul on Tuesday evening.

News reports quoting Health Ministry spokesman Kargar Noorughli said Mamoon suffered burns to his face and hands, but his eyes were protected by glasses. Mamoon was transferred to a military hospital for security reasons, Noorughli was quoted as saying.

Mamoon is a former television anchor and talk show host, and appears frequently in the Afghan media as a commentator. He recently completed a book, The Footprint of Pharaoh, which criticizes Iran for interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. He is also frequently critical of the government.

“While the government has moved to protect Razaq Mamoon, it must act quickly to apprehend his attackers,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Afghan journalists operate under constant threat from all sides in their country’s conflict, and would-be attackers must be shown that they cannot act with impunity.”

The BBC quoted Mamoon from his hospital bed as saying, ”Absolutely, the Iranians are behind this attack because nobody dares to speak out in front of Iran.” Afghan police officials say they do not know who is responsible for the attack, according to international and local media reports.