Days after woman executed, Karzai asks Taliban to enter politics
Afghanistan's President Karzai encouraged the Taliban to disarm and join the political process. His police, meanwhile, have been blaming the group for the public execution of a woman.
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President Karzai is encouraging the Taliban to drop their weapons and run for political office, even as the group is busy denying Afghan police claims of Taliban involvement in the recent public execution of a woman for adultery.
The execution, at close range in front of a cheering crowd, was condemned widely after a cellphone recording of the murder spread this week. Authorities in Kabul blamed the execution – which was attended by at least 150 men – on the Taliban. So-called public “honor killings” were common during the Islamist group’s rule of the country between 1996 and 2001, according to Agence France-Presse.
Advocates for women's rights in Afghanistan have expressed concerns that gains for women will be traded off in the power struggles to come as most foreign forces exit by 2014. Such concerns will only be heightened by Mr. Karzai's political outreach to the Taliban, just days after his government blamed members of the group for the public execution.
"[Mullah Mohammad Omar] along with his friends can come and create his political party, do politics, become a candidate himself for the elections. If people voted for him, good for him, he can take the leadership in his hand," Karzai said.
The Taliban denies any role in the recent execution, and reportedly said if they had carried out the public murder, they would have done so by following "proper" sharia, or Islamic law, reports Reuters. "The involvement of the ... mujahideen as alleged by some officials of the Kabul government is absolutely untrue and baseless," a statement on the Taliban's website said.
The news of the execution broke as donors at a Tokyo conference on Afghanistan pledged close to $16 billion in development aid and resources to the country over the next four years, reports Spiegel Online.
Despite all the money and attention spent on Afghanistan, the country remains one of the world’s worst countries for women’s rights, according to the United Nations Development Program. That said, there's been some progress from the days of Taliban rule -- progress that many want to defend.