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Afghan Governor Confirms Authenticity Of Stoning Video

A RFE/RL video grab shows Afghan men stoning Afghan woman Rokhsana (C, in hole) to death in Ghalmeen, Afghanistan's Ghor province, according to local officials, October 25, 2015

The governor of Afghanistan's central Ghor Province has attested to the authenticity of a video that shows a young woman being stoned to death in Afghanistan.

Governor Sima Joyenda said the killing took place in the village of Ghalmin, "an area controlled entirely by Taliban militants."

"The government has no access to the area," Joyenda told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan on November 2.

The gruesome two-minute clip, which was obtained from an eyewitness by RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, shows the covered victim in a hole in the ground as a group of men pelt her with stones.

The woman, identified by Ghor officials as 19-year-old Rokhshana, can be heard repeating the Shahada, the Islamic creed, in muffled tones as the stoning increases in intensity.

A small crowd is visible, with many recording the incident on their mobile phones.

Officials said the stoning on October 25 in the outskirts of the provincial capital, Firoz Koh, was carried out by "Taliban, local religious leaders, and armed warlords."

Joyenda's office added that Rokhshana's family had married her off against her will and that she was caught while eloping with a 23-year-old man named Mohammad Gul.

Gul was let off with a lashing, local police said.

Joyenda, one of Afghanistan's two female provincial governors, strongly condemned the killing.

"What the Taliban did is against Islam, against our constitution, and is an inhumane act," she said.

The stoning is just the latest in a string of public punishments in the province that have sparked angry criticism by rights activists.

A young couple was publicly lashed in August after a primary court found them guilty of adultery.

Joyenda came under widespread condemnation after she publicly supported the sentence, saying it was in keeping with the constitution, which asserts the "sacred" status of Islam.

Shari'a law stipulates stoning as the punishment for convicted adulterers, but the penalty is rarely carried out in Muslim countries.

The stoning of convicted adulterers is banned under Afghan law.

In many Taliban-controlled areas, men and women found guilty of sex outside marriage or extramarital affairs have been sentenced to death.

A teenage girl was publicly flogged and then killed along with her alleged boyfriend in the western Herat Province in 2012.

A woman was shot dead in a public execution by the Taliban in the Parwan Province in 2012, allegedly for having sex outside marriage. Police said she was executed because two Taliban commanders had a dispute over her.

With reporting by AFP