Horror video shows Taliban stoning woman (22) to death over 'adultery'
A 22-year-old Afghan woman was stoned to death by men identified as Taliban insurgents after she was accused of adultery, an Afghan official said yesterday.
The woman, identified only as Rokhshana, was forced to stand in a deep hole in the ground during the October 24 attack in a village in remote Ghor province of western Afghanistan, said Abdul Hai Khateby, spokesman for the governor. The village, about 45km north of Ghor's capital Firozkoh, is controlled by Taliban insurgents "who implement their own barbaric laws," Mr Khateby said.
In video posted online purportedly showing the attack, about six men stand around the narrow pit, pelting the woman with rocks while a larger group of men sit on the ground nearby and watch. The video could not be independently verified.
While Ghor officials blamed the Taliban, the 14-year insurgent war in Afghanistan is often used as a cover-all for a range of criminal behaviour, including revenge killings, kidnapping for ransom and extortion.
The war has entrenched traditional and religious values in many parts of Afghanistan's vast rural hinterland. Although stoning is illegal under the Afghan constitution, it's seen as a legitimate punishment under Sharia law. Incidents of stoning are unusual but not unheard of in Afghanistan, where women are the main victims.
"This is not the first such incident and it won't be the last," said Silai Ghafar, spokeswoman for the Solidarity Party which advocates for women's rights.
Meanwhile, a splinter faction of the Afghan Taliban has selected its own leader to challenge the new chief of the militant group, two insurgent commanders said on Monday, raising fresh doubts about chances of breathing life into stalled peace talks.
The Taliban, battling to oust foreign forces and the US-backed government from Afghanistan, were thrown into turmoil in July when the death of their long-term leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, was announced.
Omar's deputy, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, took charge but there was grumbling in the ranks and some analysts have attributed big Taliban attacks in recent months to a bid by Mansour to establish his reputation as leader and stamp his authority over the group.
A commander within the dissident faction said they had chosen Mullah Mohammad Rasool Akhund as their leader and they would not fight Mansour but would keep their focus on old enemies.
"We ... have chosen our own leader to lead the mujahideen against US-led foreign forces and the government," said the commander, who declined to be identified.
A spokesman for Mansour was not available but a second militant commander said Akhund was a Taliban veteran.
"He is one among the old Taliban leaders. He spent 10 years with Mullah Omar and was one of his trusted men," he said.