Taliban militants stoned a young couple to death for adultery after they ran away from their families in northern Afghanistan, officials said Monday.
Amnesty International said it was the first confirming stoning in Afghanistan since the fall of Taliban rule in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.
The Taliban-ordered killing comes at a time when international rights groups have raised worries that attempts to negotiate with the Taliban to bring peace to Afghanistan could mean a step backward for human rights in the country. When the Islamist extremists ruled Afghanistan, women were not allowed to leave their houses without a male guardian, and public killings for violations of their harsh interpretation of the Qur'an were common.
This weekend's stoning appeared to arise from an affair between a married man and a single woman in Kunduz province's Dasht-e-Archi district.
The woman, Sadiqa, was 20 years old and engaged to another man, said the Kunduz provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Raza Yaqoubi. Her lover, 28-year-old Qayum, left his wife to run away with her, and the two had holed up in a friend's house five days ago, said district government head, Mohammad Ayub Aqyar.
They were discovered by Taliban operatives Sunday and stoned to death in front a crowd of about 150 men, Aqyar said.
First the woman was brought out and stoned, then the man a half an hour later, Aqyar said. He decried the punishment, which he said was ordered by two local Taliban commanders.
Free advice to the folks behind the group building the "community center" - - how about showing some good faith by issuing a statement in opposition to Taliban barbarism?