Robert Fisk beaten by mob

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The Independent on Sunday's Robert Fisk, one of Britain's most distinguished journalists, was attacked and beaten by a crowd of Afghan refugees in Pakistan yesterday.

Fisk suffered extensive cuts and bruising to his head, body and hands in the attack after his car broke down outside the village of Kila Abdullah, between the city of Quetta and Chaman, on the Afghan border. He said the experience was "very frightening", and that but for the intervention of a Muslim cleric, he would have been killed by the crowd of about 100. At first people were friendly but after children started throwing stones, Fisk was punched, kicked and hit around the head with rocks. His spectacles were smashed and blood was pouring from his head when he was rescued by the cleric. Doctors from a Red Cross and Red Crescent convoy treated him and took him back to Quetta.

Fisk said: "I later found out that the village housed lots of Afghan refugees, whose relatives had been killed just last week in the American bombing of Kandahar. It doesn't excuse them for beating me up, but there was a real reason why they should hate Westerners."