Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Afghan woman stoned to death for ‘adultery’

The 30-second clip run in Afghan media shows a woman in a hole in the ground as turbaned men gather around and hurl stones at her with chilling nonchalance.

The woman, named by officials as Rokhsahana and aged between 19 and 21, is heard repeating the shahada, or Muslim profession of faith, her voice growing increasingly high-pitched as stones strike her with sickening thuds.

The killing took place about a week ago in a Taliban-controlled area just outside Firozkoh, the capital of central Ghor province, officials said, confirming the video which went viral on social media.

“Yes, the footage shown in the media is related to Rokhsahana, who was stoned to death,” a spokesman for Ghor’s Governor Seema Joyenda told Agence France-Presse.

Rokhsahana was stoned by a gathering of “Taliban, local religious leaders and armed warlords”, Joyenda said. 

Joyenda, one of only two female governors in Afghanistan, said Rokhsahana’s family had married her off against her will and that she was caught while eloping with another man her age — seen as tantamount to adultery.

The man was let off with a lashing, Joyenda’s spokesman said.

The brutal punishment meted out to Rokhsahana highlighted the endemic violence against women in Afghan society, despite reforms since the hardline Taliban regime fell in 2001.

‘Conservative attitudes’
In March a woman named Farkhunda was savagely beaten and set ablaze in central Kabul after being falsely accused of burning a Koran.

The mob killing triggered protests around the country and drew global attention to the treatment of Afghan women.

Joyenda condemned the stoning in Ghor, calling on Kabul to launch a military operation to rid the area of insurgents and other armed groups.

“This is the first incident in this area [this year] but will not be the last,” she said.

“Women in general have problems all over the country, but in Ghor even more conservative attitudes prevail.”

In September a video from Ghor appeared to show a woman – covered head to toe in a veil and huddled on the ground – receiving lashes from a turbaned elder in front of a crowd of male spectators.

The flogging came after a local court found her guilty of having sex outside marriage with a man, who was similarly punished.

Shariah law decrees stoning as the punishment for men and women convicted of having sex outside marriage, but the penalty is very rarely applied in Muslim countries.

Public lashings and executions were common under the Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule, when a strict interpretation of Sharia law was enforced, but such incidents have been less common in recent years.

The Taliban have so far not commented on the stoning in Ghor.

Long condemned as misogynistic zealots, the militants have recently sought to project a softened stance on female rights.

But the insurgents’ recent three-day occupation of the northern provincial capital of Kunduz offers an ominous blueprint of what could happen should they ever return to power.

Harrowing testimonies have emerged of Taliban death squads methodically targeting a host of female rights workers and journalists just hours after the city fell on September 28. – AFP

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Family wants clarity on SANDF soldier killed in friendly fire...

Corporal Simanga Khuselo join the peacekeeping mission in the DRC to save money to build his family a home

SA soldiers have been fighting in a distant land for...

Troops were sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2001 as part of the UN peacekeeping mission that became an offensive against rebels

More top stories

Roads decimate West Africa’s chimpanzee population

The species face mounting pressure from roads and infrastructure development in Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone

South Africa gets major investment to treat Covid-19, TB, cancer,...

President Cyril Ramaphosa welcomed the investment, noting that it ‘is a leapfrog to cutting edge technology’

Mining industry vaccinates over 200 000 workers, mandatory vaccination not...

Minerals Council aims to get 80% of its workforce vaccinated by November

Despite inflation risks, the monetary policy committee keeps rates on...

Inflation rose well beyond the Reserve Bank’s midpoint target in August
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×