Outcry over the public execution of an Afghan woman accused of adultery by alleged Taliban assailants reverberated across the Web on Monday, with government officials and netizens taking to social media to express their disgust.
Footage posted by the AFP depicts a disturbing scene, as a man is handed an assault rifle and then walks up behind a seated woman facing away from the camera. The video then fades to black as the gunman fires three rounds from his Kalashnikov. When the image returns, the 22-year-old woman lies dead; her death celebrated with a chorus of cheers from witnesses.
“Allah warns us not to get close to adultery because it's the wrong way,” one man says, as the shooter slowly approaches the woman. “It is the order of Allah that she be executed.”
British Foreign Secretary William Hague immediately responded to the news, tweeting about the execution and calling the tragedy a clear women’s rights issue.
Disgusted by barbaric public execution of an Afghan woman by Taliban. Shows it's vital to stand up for women's rights in #Afghanistan— William Hague (@WilliamJHague) July 8, 2012
Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Bob Carr labeled the women’s execution as “barbaric,” adding that the attack served as “another stark reminder of the brutalities that [are] regularly committed under Taliban rule, and of the task ahead of us in advancing the rights of Afghan women and girls,” The Age reported.
U.S. Gen. John R. Allen, the nation’s top commander in Afghanistan, told the Washington Post’s Sayed Salahuddin and Kevin Sieff that the Taliban’s continued brutality “must be condemned in the strongest terms.”
“Let’s be clear, this wasn’t justice, this was murder and an atrocity of unspeakable cruelty,” he added.
Parwan Province’s provincial governor Basir Salangi told Reuters that the video, obtained over the weekend, was shot last week an hour outside of Kabul.
"When I saw this video, I closed my eyes. . . The woman was not guilty; the Taliban are guilty," Salangi said. He added that the woman was sexually involved with two Taliban commanders and that they decided to kill her to settle the dispute.
On Monday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered the arrest of those responsible for the execution, who U.S. and Afghan officials say are members of the Taliban. Karzai’s reaction to the execution seemed to contradict his administration’s customary response to women’s rights issues. Female politicians in Afghanistan have been widely marginalized during the peace process, with many women arrested for “crimes of passion.”
You can watch the footage of the execution below (Warning: Some readers may find the video graphic) .
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