By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — The Afghan government has condemned as “un-Islamic and inhuman” the alleged public execution of a woman by the Taliban.
In a statement, the government in Kabul vowed to find those responsible and bring them to justice.
In London, Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was “shocked and disgusted” by the reports.
NATO’s top commander in Afghanistan, U.S. General John Allen, called the killing “an atrocity of unspeakable cruelty”.
The woman, accused of adultery, was allegedly shot by the Taliban last week in front of villagers in Parwan province, just north of the capital, Kabul.
The apparent execution of the 22-year-old and named only as Najiba was caught on video.
An Afghan female lawmaker, Fawzia Koofi, condemned the execution, questioning how it could happen so close to the capital and in front of so many people.
Koofi, who has stated her intention to run for president in 2014, said the execution came under the watch of a government that has claimed to have done so much for women.
The head of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission, Musa Mahmoudi, said, “This shows that women are still the first victims of violence in Afghanistan, despite efforts being done to reduce it.”
The commission says violence against women has increased sharply in the past year.
Earlier in the week, a woman and two of her children were beheaded in eastern Afghanistan by a man police said was her husband. It was the latest in a series of so-called “honor killings.”
Afghan women have won back rights in education, voting and work since the Taliban was driven from power in late 2001 by U.S.-backed Afghan forces.
Now many fear those rights could be put at risk by reconciliation talks between the government and Taliban.
At an international donors’ conference in Tokyo, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an appeal for women’s rights in Afghanistan.
“The United States believes strongly that no nation can achieve peace, stability and economic growth if half the population is not empowered,” Clinton said.
“All citizens need to have the chance to benefit from and contribute to Afghanistan’s progress. The United States will continue to stand strongly by the women of Afghanistan,” she added.
The governor of Parwan province, Basir Salangi, said the video was shot a week ago in the village of Qimchok in Shinwari district.
Salangi said two Taliban commanders were sexually involved with the woman, either through rape or romantically, and decided to torture her and kill her to settle their dispute.
However, a Taliban spokesman told the dpa news agency its militants were not involved.
The German agency notes Parwan has seen a rise in violence recently, with the Taliban taking over villages in at least two districts.
A Parwan provincial spokeswoman Roshno Khalid told the AFP news agency late on July 8 that “security forces are preparing a big operation to find the culprits.”