KABUL – Two bombings in Afghanistan's most violent region killed two U.S. service members Monday, the last day of the deadliest month of the war for U.S. forces.
The attacks brought the number of American troops killed in Afghanistan in August to 47, the highest monthly death toll for the U.S. since the conflict began in 2001. NATO officials confirmed the deaths but did not release any other information pending notification of family members.
Meanwhile, an Afghan man said Monday that Taliban militants cut off his nose and both ears as he tried to vote in the Aug. 20 presidential election.
"I was on my way to a polling station when Taliban stopped me and searched me. They found my voter registration card," Lal Mohammad said from his hospital bed in Kabul. He said they cut off his nose and ears before beating him unconscious with a weapon.
"I regret that I went to vote," Mohammad said, crying and trying to hide his disfigured face. "What is the benefit of voting to me?"
The attack was the third confirmed report of the Taliban mutilating people who sought to cast ballots in the electoral contest. Militants had warned Afghans not to vote and to stay away from the polls on election day.
The attack on Mohammad occurred in a rural community in Daykundi, a mountainous region of central Afghanistan, he said. Because of limited medical facilities in his region, the father of eight made the long journey to Kabul for treatment.
The Taliban also cut off the index fingers of two Afghans after they cast ballots in southern Afghanistan, said Nader Nadery, head of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan.
Voters were asked to dip their index fingers in purple ink to prevent multiple voting. Before the election, rumors spread the Taliban would cut off inked fingers.
A Taliban spokesman had said militants would not carry out such attacks, but the movement is a loose coalition of anti-government forces.
At least 26 Afghan civilians and security forces died in dozens of militant attacks on election day, discouraging many from voting.