The apparent public execution of a woman by a man said to be the member of the Taliban draws condemnation by ordinary Afghans and officials. The interior ministry says it is launching an investigation to find those responsible.
GHORBAND VALLEY, PARWAN PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN (JULY 8, 2012) (REUTERS) -Afghans reacted with shock and outrage on Sunday (July 8) to a video showing what Afghan officials say is the public execution of a woman by a member of the Taliban.
The man shot dead the woman, who was accused of adultery, in front of a cheering crowd of men in a village, a video obtained by Reuters showed.
The governor of Parwan province, Basir Salangi, said the video was shot a week ago in the village of Qimchok in Shinwari district in the Ghorband Valley, an hour's drive from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
In the three-minute video, a turban-clad man approaches a woman kneeling in the dirt and shoots her five times at close range with an automatic rifle, to cheers of jubilation from the 150 or so men watching.
Villagers in Ghorband Valley were in shock as the news spread.
"What do they (Taliban) want to prove by this action? It just shows their brutality and injustice. We want rule of law," said Abdul Mohammad.
"The action that the Taliban have committed is against law. It does not exist in sharia (Islamic) law. If our mother and sister watch this video, they will be shocked and will be scared this is against the law," said Abdul Salim.
Such rare public punishment was a painful reminder to Afghan authorities of the Taliban's 1996-2001 period in power, and it raised concern about the treatment of Afghan women 11 years into the NATO-led war against Taliban insurgents.
A local official said women had suffered enough under the Taliban rule.
"We have had a very bad experience of Taliban in the past several years. Every one is in shock and scared that, God forbid, if the Taliban return, what will happen. The women have suffered under the Taliban a lot. They suffered socially, psychologically and they could not study during their time," said Shajan Yazdanparast, the head of women affairs of Parwan province, where the village is located.
When the unnamed woman, most of her body tightly wrapped in a shawl, fell sideways after being shot several times in the head, the spectators chanted: "Long live the Afghan mujahideen! (Islamist fighters)", a name the Taliban use for themselves.
Despite the presence of over 130,000 foreign troops and 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, the Taliban have managed to resurge beyond their traditional bastions of the south and east, extending their reach into once more peaceful areas like Parwan.
Afghan women have won back basic rights in education, voting and work since the Taliban, who deemed them un-Islamic for women, were toppled by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001.
But fears are rising among Afghan women, some lawmakers and rights activists, that such freedom could be traded away as the Afghan government and the U.S. pursue talks with the Taliban to secure a peaceful end to the war.
"I call on the international community and the government of Afghanistan to investigate and question why this happened. The international community should intervene in this issue. Women should have their rights. Is this happening in the rest of the world," asked Najiba Jan, a school teacher in Kabul.
The interior ministry said they would investigate the incident.
"We are going to investigate thoroughly into this video and we will find those culprits and those Taliban who are behind this act of violence, terrorism and brutal act . There is no definition, no meaning for this any more," said Sediq Sediqi, said interior ministry spokeman.
Violence against women has increased sharply in the past year, according to Afghanistan's independent human rights commission.
Some Afghans still refer to Taliban courts for settling disputes, viewing government bodies as corrupt or unreliable. The courts use sharia, which prescribes punishments such as stonings and executions.
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