A Taliban firing squad killed a young couple in southwestern Afghanistan for trying to elope, shooting them with AK-47s in front of a crowd in a lawless, militant-controlled region [on Monday in the remote district of Khash Rod] . . .
The woman, 19-year-old Gul Pecha, and the man, 21-year-old Abdul Aziz, were accused by the militants of immoral acts, and a council of conservative clerics decided that the two should be killed, officials said.
The two had hoped to travel to Iran, which borders their home province of Nimroz, but their parents sent villagers to bring them home, said Sadiq Chakhansori, the chief of the provincial council.
Once back home, the pair was either turned over to the Taliban by their parents or the militants took them by force, the officials said, providing slightly varying accounts. . . .
"Unfortunately, Khash Rod is an area that is almost out of the control of the government," said Gov. Ghulam Dastagir Azad. "We don't have coalition or Afghan army forces there like we do in other districts." . . .
The Nimroz governor decried the fact that a three-person council of clerics operating outside the state's judicial system would level the death penalty.
"Through legal channels it would take months to prove such a case," Azad said. "How can these people make a decision in four days and kill them? No one has the right to kill anybody without the decision of a court."
Pecha, the woman, was an ethnic Pashtun from the region and a member of the Sunni sect of Islam, Azad said. Aziz was from the Shiite sect, Azad said, though he didn't know his ethnicity.
FWIW, the "legitimate" Nimroz governor is complaining that court procedure wasn't followed, rather than the injustice of the underlying death penalty for an eloping couple. The Afghan constitution, approved in a U.S. sponsored process, makes Sharia law the supreme law of the land after all (as does Iraq's new constitution), so the issue is one of interpretation and process, rather than the underlying authority of Islamic law as a penal code. One also suspects that the council of clerics did not include both Sunnis and Shiite clerics.