KUNDUZ, Afghanistan, Aug. 16, 2010 (Reuters) — A man and woman were publicly stoned to death by the Taliban in Afghanistan's once-peaceful north over an alleged love affair, a provincial government official said on Monday.
If confirmed, Sunday's executions in Kunduz province would be the first of their kind by the Taliban in the area and follow a call last week by Afghan clerics for a return to sharia and capital punishments carried out under the Islamic law.
They also come a week after officials said the Islamist militants publicly flogged and executed a woman accused of adultery in northwestern Badghis province.
"The two were stoned to death in a bazaar of Dasht-e Archi district on the accusation of committing the act of adultery," said Mohammad Omar, the governor of Kunduz.
The Taliban arrested the two, who were each engaged to be married to other people, at the request of their families after they tried to elope, said district police chief Hameed Agha.
This isn't the first elopement related execution I've noticed in news from Afghanistan. It is also worth noting that the engagements themselves may not have been voluntary.
What is wrong with these people?
I'm sure that it could make more sense, although I don't think that any amount of education could make this kind of activity seem legitimate, if we had something more of a clue about how is motivating people like the parents in this case whose families asked that they be killed.
Seriously, how did ordinary people in Northern Afghanistan become such monsters?
And, as a side point, how exactly can one be guilty of adultery when one isn't even married yet?
Will the government do anything about this incident, or will the perpetrators avoid any punishment for their acts?
How deeply rooted in the culture is this activity? Is this an aberration of extreme times? Is it an attempt to be extreme for the sake of being extreme in the face of outside cultural influence that seems culturally threatening, to show supremacy of non-Western ideas? Are there other agendas, personal or ethnic at work that aren't mentioned in the account?
What kind of messed up psycho parent asks that their child be killed for trying to run off and marry someone other than a chosen fiance? Was the marriage part of some deal between families that was supposed to end a blood feud or something? Are the families just extraordinarily inhuman evil people?
Is this the product of an extremist subculture within Afghanistan or are the attitudes that say stoning engaged people who elope with each other instead of their betrotheds a mainstream attitude?
How do you change a culture in a way that makes it less brutal and heartless? Is it a lost cause? If so, is it possible to make Afghanistan something other than a hotbed of future anti-Western terrorists? This part of Afghanistan has not been home to much insurgent violence so far in the Afghan war. Are other parts of Afghanistan worse?
Is this culture a product of recent evangelism by the Taliban, or is it an ancient element of Northern Afghan culture?
Whatever the cause, clearly, this incident is proof that something in Afghan society is deeply broken.