Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Afghanista­n Taliban deny executing young lovers

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KABUL, Afghanista­n (Reuters) —Afghanista­n’s Taliban on Wednesday denied involvemen­t in the execution of a pair of young lovers as reported by Afghan officials, a media outlet said.

Provincial officials of Nimroz said the Taliban militants publicly shot dead a man and girl in the province on Monday for eloping when she was already engaged to marry someone else.

“We do not know anything about the incident,” the Afghan Islamic Press quoted Taliban spokespers­on Qari Mohammad Yousuf as saying.

The district where the incident happened is largely out of control of the government. One official said a group of pro-Taliban clerics had carried out the executions after hunting the pair down a week after they eloped.

Afghan officials have given few details about the incident which came a day after the Taliban shot dead a female member of the provincial council in Kandahar.

When in power from 1996 until their ouster by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in 2001, Taliban Islamists frequently staged public executions and floggings of adulterers, thieves and murderers. A Taliban-led insurgency against the U.S.-backed government has grown in recent years, and the militants have carried out their form of justice in towns and villages under their control.

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