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Taliban flog girl for 'crossing boundary'

A video of a teenage girl being flogged by Taliban fighters has emerged from Pakistan's Swat Valley, offering a shocking glimpse of militant brutality in the once-peaceful district, and a sign of deepening Taliban influence in the country. "She came out of her house with another guy who was not her husband, so we must punish her," A Taliban spokesman said. videoWatch Video

world Updated: Apr 04, 2009 02:39 IST

A 17-year-old screaming, burqa-clad girl was whipped by Taliban fighters in Pakistan's restive Swat Valley for coming "out of her house with another guy who was not her husband", a two-minute video shot through a mobile phone showed.

The video showed the girl face down on the ground. Two men held her arms and feet while a third, a black-turbaned fighter with a flowing beard, whipped her repeatedly, the Guardian reported.

The newspaper said it received the video through Samar Minallah, a Pashtun documentary maker.

"Please stop it," the girl begged repeatedly. "Either kill me or stop it now."

After 34 lashes the punishment stopped and the wailing girl was led into a stone building.

"She came out of her house with another guy who was not her husband, so we must punish her. There are boundaries you cannot cross," the Guardian quoted Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan as saying.

The punishment was meted out within last 10 days, Minallah said.

"This video is being widely circulated because the Taliban want people to see it. They want to give the message that this is taking place after the peace deal because this is something they ideologically believe in," the newspaper quoted her as saying.

The girl's brother is among the men who pinned her down, she added. "It's symbolic that he does it with his own hands. It gives him honour in local society, that he has done it for the sake of religion."

Pakistan's North West Frontier Province government ceded authority to the Taliban under a peace deal, giving them almost a free hand to impose their puritan Islamic rule on the around 600,000 people of Swat and its seven neighbouring districts.

The peace accord signed with pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Sufi Mohammad includes measures to establish Islamic courts, a ban on music, expulsion of prostitutes and pimps from the area, closure of businesses during prayer times, and a campaign against what they call obscenity.

First Published: Apr 03, 2009 14:34 IST