KUNDUZ, Afghanistan - Police in a remote northern Afghan village rescued a woman from being stoned to death after she was condemned by the Taliban for allegedly cheating on her husband, officials said Tuesday.
Taliban militants, who often run informal justice systems in rural Afghanistan, handed down the death penalty on the woman after her husband accused her of having an affair.
"When police rescued her, she was locked in a room in a compound that was used as a Taliban base," Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, police spokesman for Kunduz province, told AFP.
He said the rescue operation in the village, a militant stronghold, was launched after the woman's relatives told police the Taliban had sentenced her to death.
The husband, a supporter of the Islamic insurgent group, handed her over to the militants on Friday.
The incident happened in Dasht-i-Archi district of Kunduz, a province where the Taliban have had an active presence in recent years after they were ousted from power nationally in 2001.
"The Taliban were preparing to stone her when the police reached the compound. The Taliban ran away and the woman was rescued. She's now in police protective custody," Hussaini said.
Enayatullah Khaleeq, a spokesman for the Kunduz provincial administration, confirmed the rescue and gave a similar account.
"Her husband was with the Taliban. He had divorced his wife and, perhaps to justify this, he accused her of cheating on him and wanted to get her killed by the Taliban. We are investigating this," Khaleeq told AFP.
The Taliban, the biggest militant group behind a 12-year insurgency in Afghanistan, implemented a harsh version of Sharia law during their rule of Kabul between 1996 and 2001, stoning women to death and chopping off thieves' hands.
In July last year a 21-year-old woman was stoned to death in a Taliban-controlled village just 60 kilometres (35 miles) north of Kabul, sparking international condemnation.