Three Afghan women found dead with warning note

They were raped, strangled and dumped with a warning for women not to work for aid groups

, May 2, 2005

KABUL, May 2 (Reuters) - Authorities have found the bodies of three Afghan women, one of whom worked for an aid group, who were raped, strangled and dumped with a warning for women not to work for such groups, an official said on Monday.

Aid workers in Afghanistan have been the target of Taliban insurgents, especially in the insurgency-plagued south and east of the country, but the three women were found in the northern province of Baghlan, where Taliban rebels are not active.

Stoning to death -- human rights scandal

Discrimination against women in Afghanistan will continue to have grave consequences until the government takes concrete steps to end it, said Amnesty International following the killing by stoning of a 29 year-old woman accused of adultery.

According to eyewitnesses, the 29-year old, named only as Amina, was dragged out of her parent's house in Urgu District, Badakhan province by her husband and local officials before being publicly stoned to death. The man accused of committing adultery with her is alleged to have been whipped a hundred times and freed.

According to reports, Amina was condemned to death by local court and then killed within approximately 48 hours.

"The case of Amina demonstrates the failure of the Afghan government to protect, ensure and dispense justice, particularly for women," said Amnesty International.

"The Afghan government has the responsibility of protecting women from violence, committed not only by the state but also by private individuals and groups."

Amnesty International welcomes the promised investigation by the Afghan government into Amina's unlawful death and to bring all those responsible to justice.

Amnesty International Press Release, 26 April 2005

"This is retribution for those women who are working in NGOs and those who are involved in whoredom," said a Western security official, citing the warning, a copy of which he had obtained.

The note was found attached to the chest of one of the dead women, he said.

The bodies were dumped near a road outside Pul-i-Khumri city, the provincial capital of Baghlan, said the city police chief, Gul Mohammad Mangal.

He confirmed warning letters were also found but said he did not know their content. He blamed criminals for the killing.

One of the three was a 25 year-old woman who until recently worked for a Bangladeshi non-governmental organisation (NGO) involved in providing micro credit, mostly to widows.

A group calling itself "Afghan Youths Convention" claimed responsibility for the killing, according to a caller who telephoned a Reuters reporter in northern Afghanistan.

The caller did not say if the previously unheard of group had any connection with any faction or radical Islamic movements such as the ousted Taliban.

A doctor in the city said forensic tests showed the three were raped and then strangled with a rope.

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