The Taliban in Afghanistan have publicly stoned to death a man and a woman over an alleged love affair, government officials said.
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Sunday's execution is the first by the Taliban in the Kunduz province and follow last week's call by Afgan clerics for a return to sharia and capital punishments under Islamic law.
Hoda Abdel-hamid, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the Afghan capital, Kabul, said that a local Taliban commander confirmed that the man was a married 28 year old, while the woman was in her early twenties, engaged to marry someone else.
"The couple were brought into an open field and about 100 Taliban or supporters of the Taliban gathered and began stoning them just after a Taliban supporter read out a statement of their confession."
The incident also comes a week after officials alleged that a woman accused of adultery was flogged and executed in the northwestern Badghis province.
Amnesty International has condemned the latest executions.
"The stoning of this couple is a heinous crime. The Taliban and other insurgent groups are growing increasingly brutal in their abuses against Afghans," Sam Zarifi, the rights group's Asia-Pacific director said in a press statement.
"Afghan leaders must stand against stoning and other appalling human rights abuses masquerading as 'justice', no matter how much pressure they are under to deal with the Taleban."
On Monday, a spokesman for Nato-led forces criticised the Taliban for carrying out what he said were acts of indiscriminate violence against ordinary Afghans.
"They have increased acts of violence and repression against innocent Afghans," Brigadier General Josef Blotz told reporters.
"The insurgents have clearly given up winning over the population, knowing that they don't have an appealing vision for the people." http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/08/2010816171115397111.html
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