A UN report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan has said anti-government forces, mainly the Taliban, were responsible for 76% of civilian casualties, which totalled 1,271 deaths and 1,997 injured in the first six months of the year. Just 12% of casualties were caused by Nato or other pro-government forces.
The Taliban also stand accused of conducting a killing campaign targeting government supporters. The UN says that on average militants murder one person every day. The list of targets is long: local officials, military translators, police, teachers, women going to work and girls going to school.
The Taliban is also reported to have ordered the stoning of a couple to death for adultery in a public execution. The married man and the single woman in Dasht-e-Archi district, Kunduz province, were accused of eloping.
Amnesty International called the stoning a “heinous crime” that showed the Taliban and other insurgent groups “are growing increasingly brutal in their abuses against Afghans”.
The woman, Sadiqa, was 20 years old and engaged to another man. Her lover, 28-year-old Qayum, left his wife to run away with her, and the two had been holed up for 5 days in a friend’s house.
They were apparently discovered by Taliban operatives on Sunday and stoned to death in front a crowd of about 150 men.
Stoning to death is a barbaric act. Religion is no excuse for such human rights abuses, and neither is nationality, race or ethnicity.
Crimes against humanity and war crimes must be prosecuted regardless of the excuses the perpetrators may use.
That’s an argument which still needs to be won the world over.