HERAT -- Afghan officials, civil society activists and religious scholars are outraged by the Taliban's latest brutal judgement passed in a kangaroo court in Dolaina District of Ghor Province.
The Taliban killed a young man and woman on April 20 a few hours after seizing them and without notifying their families, provincial authorities said.
The charge was elopement, said Muhammad Arif Aaber, a spokesman for the Ghor governor.
"This incident took place in a remote part of Dolaina District where the government doesn't have any control," he said. "The Taliban always commit killings in those few areas under their control."
"The security forces in Dolaina District have been instructed to arrest the perpetrators of this crime; these criminals won't get away with it," he said. "We'll hold every perpetrator accountable. The Taliban should know that justice will follow them."
Crimes against humanity
Halima Parastesh, director of the Ghor Department of Women's Affairs, expressed concern over the Taliban's treatment of the victims, adding that in areas under Taliban control, women do not even have the right to speak on their own behalf.
"The killing of a young man and a woman by the Taliban is an obvious crime against humanity, showing that the Taliban continue to engage in violence and brutality," she said.
"It is a crime for a woman to go out of her home in areas where the Taliban are in control, and if a girl leaves her home without a legal [male] chaperone, the Taliban punish her," she added.
"We call on the security agencies to immediately identify and arrest the perpetrators [of these killings] at the kangaroo court to help ensure justice," Parastesh said. "There is no justification for killing an innocent woman, but the Taliban are proud of killing women in front of everyone in their kangaroo courts."
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) also expressed concern over the Taliban's continued execution of civilians at their kangaroo courts.
"The Taliban don't obey any law, and they commit killings in their kangaroo courts without knowing [the defendants'] guilt," said Farida Naseri, director of the AIHRC in Ghor Province. "This is a very serious issue, that the Taliban violate human rights.
"The Taliban have been committing killings without any justification in their kangaroo courts for years," she said, adding that these courts are only in areas where the Taliban are in control.
"If anyone commits a crime, the government courts have to look at their case and issue a decision in accordance with law. They shouldn't be tried in front of hundreds [of spectators] in kangaroo courts," she said.
No justice for innocent victims
In the Taliban's kangaroo courts, defendants -- especially women -- have no rights, said Hasan Hakimi, a civil society activist in Ghor Province. The Taliban implement whatever "justice" they want.
"The Taliban's trials are not fair as defendants can't use their legal right to defend themselves," he said. "In many cases, besides killing the accused, the Taliban even extort money from their families as fines."
"The Taliban know only violence, hatred and extremism," he said. "They don't respect any human value as they kill innocent civilians when they want to. Hanging, stoning or killing human beings is a simple thing for the Taliban as they have been engaged in bloodshed for years."
"Taliban fighters don't care about peace and a reduction in violence, and they continue to commit violence," said Muhammad Wazir Noorani, a civil society activist in Ghor Province.
"One of the Taliban's goals in rolling out these kangaroo courts is to spread violence and intimidate civilians so that they don't go to government courts," he said. "The Taliban force them to bring their issues to them to solve, but they can't give them justice."
"Innocent civilians have fallen victim to these courts many times," Noorani said.
Kangaroo courts are un-Islamic
The Taliban's trials in kangaroo courts are inhumane and contrary to the teachings of Islam, according to religious scholars in Ghor Province.
The Taliban do not have the authority to carry out Sharia punishments or to order executions at the kangaroo courts, said Maulawi Muhammad Ahmadi, a religious scholar in Firoz Koh, the provincial capital.
Religious and public legitimacy is the core prerequisite for implementing Sharia rules and punishments, which means only the government can implement laws, he said.
Ahmadi encouraged the Taliban to make peace. The war in Afghanistan is un-Islamic as the Taliban kill Muslims and their fellow countrymen, he said.
"Peace is one of the main needs of human beings, and the Islamic religion has always insisted and instructed Muslims to resolve their issues by leveraging peaceful and nonviolent approaches," he said.
"The holy Koran clearly mentions and instructs Muslims that if non-Muslims extend the hand of friendship to them, they should accept it," he said. "Both parties to the conflict have many things in common, and there is no obstacle to their coming together in peace."
"The Afghan people have been suffering from this unwanted war for more than 40 years," Ahmadi said. "This war has to end."