Afghan Woman in Love Triangle Executed

An Afghan woman caught in the middle of a love triangle between two Taliban commanders was brutally executed after her husband and the fellow adulterer could not decide “who could have her.”  The 22 year old woman, known as Najiba, was reportedly married to one Taliban official, but had secretly carried on an affair with a fellow Taliban commander.

Video of the cold blooded murder has flooded the internet in recent days and been met with worldwide condemnation.  The horrific images show nearly 100 bearded men gathering to watch the “honor killing” in Qimchok Village, part of the Parwan province.  As the onlookers chant “God is great,” a man wielding an AK-47 approaches Najiba from behind and shoots her three times in the head and back, her body exploding forward.  As if to add insult to injury, the unidentified shooter then proceeds to pump 6 more rounds from his automatic rifle into the lifeless body of Najiba.

The governor of Parwan province, Abdul Basir Salangi, recently told CNN that because both Taliban men “had some kind of relationship with the woman, they instead opted to accuse her of adultery to save face.”

Despite the gains made in Afghanistan since the U.S. led invasion shortly after the September 11th attacks, the prevalent and ongoing use of “honor killings” in the country unequivocally demonstrate the strong influence of Sharia law and the Taliban within Afghanistan.  As the United States prepares to draw down troops in the country, we are faced with a difficult question: what do we do?  Basic human decency screams for justice and punishment, but what of the government that allows these killings to routinely take place?  Can we, should we, impose our own morality on a sovereign nation?  Despite the despicability of the behavior, are we infringing on another people’s religious freedom by interfering?

These are extremely difficult questions to answer, but deserve the time in the spotlight none the less.


  1. Brian’s post makes a lot of interesting points about the role of the United States in the culture of a nation they have occupied for the last ten years. This story is a horrifying account of a terrible tradition still occurring in several third world countries. Unlike the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan is a developing nation that still lacks the basic infrastructure and stable middle class to be a democratic state. The Afghan government does not have complete control of their territory or peoples, and warlords still possess a lot of the local influence. This makes it extremely hard for the United States or any other nation to impose any ‘moral’ standards on Afghanistan. The Afghans are not to the point where they will demand better human rights for themselves. Because of this, any US intervention will seem like an attack on Afghan religion and Afghan culture, and will infuriate many in the region.

  2. While Brian is correct to say that the issue of “honor killings” undoubtedly deserves closer examination and more discussion, the question of whether the U.S. should play a role in preventing honor killings is a difficult one. On the one hand, the practice is, without a doubt, cruel and inhumane (at least from the standpoint of most U.S. citizens. Such inhumanity triggers within us a desire to intervene and prevent the practice from continuing. On the other hand, U.S. citizens respect sovereignty and self-autonomy. If the U.S. were to impose its moral or ethical standards on a foreign nation by somehow preventing the honor killings, it would call into question the extent to which we value state sovereignty and self-autonomy. Whether intervention is warranted or not, there is no question that, at least from a western world perspective, honor killings are unnecessary and inhumane.

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