A man believed to be a member of the Taliban shot and killed a woman accused of adultery in front of a cheering crowd near the Afghan capital of Kabul.
In a 3 minute video obtained by Reuters, a man is seen walking up to a woman kneeling in the dirt and shoots her 9 times at close range with an automatic rifle to cheers from the 150 men watching. As he approached her, another man can be heard saying "Allah warns us not to get close to adultery because it's the wrong way. It is the order of Allah that she be executed." When the woman fell sideways, the spectators chanted: "Long live the Afghan mujahideen! (Islamist fighters)," what the Taliban call themselves.
Parwan Provincial Governor Basir Salangi told Reuters "When I saw this video, I closed my eyes... The woman was not guilty; the Taliban are guilty." Salangi says the woman had been accused of adultery but what's even more shocking, he says two Taliban commanders had been sexually involved with her. It's not known if it had been a rape or if it was consensual, but they decided to torture her and then kill her to settle a dispute between them. "They are outlaws, murderers, and like savages they killed the woman." According to CNN the two commanders were subsequently killed by a third Taliban commander.
The video was shot a week ago in the village of Qimchole, Parwan province and was initially uploaded to YouTube... but YouTube has since taken it down.
The incident is a painful reminder to Afghans of the Taliban’s 1996-2001 brutal regime between 1996-2001, and raises concerns about how Afghan women are still being treated 11 years into the NATO led war against the Taliban. Afghan activists say this is more evidence of a lack of interest in women's rights by the government of President Hamid Karzai. Politician Fawzia Koofi tells Reuters "After 10 years (of foreign intervention), and only a few kilometres from Kabul... how could this happen in front of all these people? This is happening under a government that claims to have made so much progress in women's rights, claims to have changed women's lives, and this is unacceptable. It is a huge step backwards." Since the Taliban regime was toppled by US backed forces in 2001, women have won back their rights to education, employment and to vote in elections. Koofi plans to run for president in 2014.
Despite 130,000 foreign troops still in Afghanistan and another 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, the Taliban continues to move beyond their strongholds in the south and east. And now with a timetable for NATO troops to hand over combat command to Afghan forces by the middle of next year, and withdraw from the country in 2014, there are fears about the country's future. But US President Barack Obama is quoted by the BBC in May saying "As Afghans stand up, they will not stand alone." He added there would "never be an optimum point where we can say this is all done - it's a process and sometimes a messy process."