Afghanistan’s extremist Taliban publicly executed a young couple who had tried to elope, a provincial governor said Tuesday.
The pair were shot dead on Monday in front of a mosque in the southwestern province of Nimroz, an area where the Islamists have influence.
It followed a decree by local religious leaders that they should be put to death, governor Ghulam Dastageer Azad told AFP.
He branded their execution an “insult to Islam.”
“An unmarried young boy and an unmarried girl who loved each other and wanted to get married had eloped because their families would not approve the marriage,” Azad said.
The pair, both adults, were discovered by Taliban militants and returned to their village in Khash Rod district where the extremists are active.
“Three Taliban mullahs brought them to the local mosque and they passed a fatwa (religious decree) that they must be killed. They were shot and killed in front of the mosque in public,” the governor said.
Azad said some reports said that the families of the young couple might be associated with the Taliban. The Taliban could not be immediately reached for comment.
The 1996-2001 Taliban regime, which was based on an austere interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, carried out public executions by stoning for adultery, while a couple who had sex before marriage would be lashed 100 times and then made to marry.
Extrajudicial “honour killings” are also practised in Afghanistan by families who believe a relative has brought them shame, including by refusing to marry a chosen partner.
The Taliban are waging a bloody insurgency to take back power and have significant influence in several remote and mostly southern districts where they are reported to run their own courts.
In neighbouring Pakistan, the government Monday signed an agreement allowing the Taliban to impose their version of Sharia law in the Malakand district of around three million people in North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
Critics say it will embolden Taliban and Al-Qaeda extremists.