Taliban militants in northern Afghanistan have stoned a young couple to death for allegedly committing adultery, which a rights group said was the first confirmed use of the punishment in the region since the hardline Islamist regime was ousted in 2001.
The Taliban-ordered killing comes at a time when international rights groups have raised worries that attempts to negotiate with the Taliban to bring peace to Afghanistan could mean a step backward for human rights in the country.
When the Islamist extremists ruled Afghanistan, women were not allowed to leave their houses without a male guardian and public killings for violations of their interpretation of The Koran were common.
This weekend's stoning appeared to arise from an affair between a married man and a single woman in Kunduz province's Dasht-e-Archi district.
The woman, Sadiqa (20), was engaged to another man, said the Kunduz provincial police chief, General Abdul Raza Yaqoubi. Her lover, 28-year-old Qayum, left his wife to run away with her, and the two had holed up in a friend's house five days ago, said district government head, Mohammad Ayub Aqyar.
They were discovered by Taliban operatives on Sunday and stoned to death in front of a crowd of about 150 men, Aqyar said.