AIHRC slams lashing of woman, wants perpetrators punished
MAIMANA (Pajhwok): The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Tuesday strongly condemned the lashing of a young woman by the Taliban in northern Faryab province and called for punishing the perpetrators.
The woman was given 30 lashed in public on Friday in the Khwaja Musa area of Pushtunkot district. A video clip released by the Taliban showed the burqa-clad female being whipped in front of hundreds of people.
An influential figure, Sufi Nazar Mohammad, identified the victim as Bibi Khal (20), whose father had been martyred by the insurgents when she was 18 months old.
Her father had escaped from Faryab to Takhar in 1998 and joined the anti-Taliban front of mujahidin. After he was killed in Takhar, Khal’s mother married another man. She was thus raised by her grandmother.
“Khal was engaged to a man in Iran a year ago. The man has already sent 300,000 afs in dowry to her family. But locals allege the woman has been speaking over the phonic to another person from Maimana.
“When she tried fleeing to Maimana, the provincial capital, street children stopped the car carrying her and informed Taliban,” Mohammad added.
The militants seized and lashed her in the presence of hundreds of people in the bazaar, he said. After the incident, the woman felt shell-shocked and her fiancé’s family scrapped the engagement.
“Lashing a woman in front of hundreds of other people is against Islamic teachings and law; we strongly condemn the barbaric act,” said the AIHRC provincial commissioner, Syed Hafizullah Fitrat.
The woman was whipped on charges of having telephonic conversations with a man, the human rights campaigner said, adding there was no clarity yet on whether the woman had an affair with the man or it was a plot against her.
As the Taliban say they are an Islamic Emirate, the incident should have been properly investigated, according to the AIHRC official. He opined the militants should have gathered concrete evidence before lashing Khal.
Lashing someone in the presence of hundreds of people was a crime and the perpetrators should be arrested and punished in accordance with the law, he demanded.
Director of Women Affairs Sharifa Azimi also denounced the incident, saying a woman should not be lashed in public before her crime was proved. The perpetrators must be dragged to the court, she said.
But Damullah Noor-ul-Haq, introducing himself as Taliban’s district chief for Pushtunkot, explained the woman was lashed not for sending text messages, but for running away from home for three days.
According to Haq, Khal had confessed to having an affair with a married man named Maazullah, from Khwaja Musa area, currently living in Maimana. She allegedly spent three nights with him.
“We publicly punished the woman to make her an example for others,” he said, claiming the fighters had handed Khal to her uncle and grandmother on the condition that she would not be harmed. We are looking for Maazullah,” he continued.
The Pushtunkot district chief, Abdul Qadir Qadari, said the area -- 20 kilometers from the provincial capital -- was under Taliban’s control.
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