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UK newsman assaulted

December 10, 2001


LONDON, Dec 9: A UK journalist was attacked and viciously beaten on Saturday by a mob of Afghans in Pakistan before being saved by a religious leader, a news agency said.

Robert Fisk, 55, a veteran foreign correspondent for The Independent, was assaulted when his car broke down on the road between the border city of Quetta and Charnan.

Recovering at his hotel in Quetta, the veteran journalist told PA News: “It was a very frightening experience and I am in a lot of pain but I am glad to be alive. I’m going to bear the scars for the rest of my life — sadly I broke down in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

He suffered head, face and hand injuries.

Fisk, the newspaper’s Middle East correspondent, had been travelling to Charnan when his car overheated and broke down close to a village housing refugees who had fled across the border from Afghanistan.

He got out of the vehicle and was attempting to push it to the side of the road when a group of 40 to 50 people gathered.

“At first they were reasonably friendly but then a little kid threw a stone at me. More stones followed and then I find myself being punched and beaten in the face.

“My glasses were smashed and my spare glasses were ripped away from me. I was covered in blood and couldn’t see anything. I was obviously frightened.”

Fisk said he fought back and began lashing out at the mob, whose numbers had now swelled to about 100.

He knocked a couple of his attackers to the ground but was then rescued by a religious leader, who forced the mob back and guided him to a police wagon.—AFP