Horrifying footage shows an Afghan woman being stoned to death by an angry mob in an attack which activists have blamed on the Taliban.
The clip shows a woman cowering and screaming in a hole as she is mercilessly pelted with stones in front of a crowd of onlookers.
A spokesman for Afghanistan's president Ashraf Ghani has pointed the finger at the Taliban, accusing the militant group of 'cruelty and atrocity'.
The Taliban claim the footage is from 2015 but activists do not believe them and the country's Independent Human Rights Commission is investigating the case.
The human rights commission told RFERL that it was trying to establish when the footage was taken and why the woman was killed.
Laila Haidari, a prominent Afghan activist, said on Saturday that the Taliban had stoned the woman 'a few days ago' in Ghor province.
'The intensity of their violence and what they can do against women in the absence of law and order is clearly visible,' she said.
'We have to think about how we can stand up against this approaching horror.'
In the video, the woman can be heard crying and screaming while the crowd shouts 'Allahu Akbar' and 'hit her'.
Another activist, Farangies Shah, also stated that the stoning had been recent as she took aim at possible negotiations with the Taliban.
'Yesterday they stoned a woman in Ghor, tomorrow such acts will reach the shores of the US,' she said.
'Don't forget, you can appease the oppressor but their roots will spread and the problem will persist.'
Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for president Ashraf Ghani, directly accused the Taliban of killing the woman.
'I am utterly shocked and saddened after I watched a video on Twitter in which a group of Taliban is stoning an innocent woman,' he said.
'Taliban's cruelty and atrocity under the name of Islam is a crime against humanity.'
Trying to deflect the blame, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed in response that the video was several years old.
He appeared to be referring to a notorious case in 2015 in which a woman known as Rokhshana was stoned to death for adultery, also in Ghor province.
Officials said Rokhshana had been captured by the insurgents after she ran away from home, supposedly with a 19-year-old boyfriend.
Rokhshana was accused of adultery because she was engaged to man she did not want to marry, Afghan authorities said at the time.
Although stoning is illegal under the Afghan constitution, it is seen as a legitimate punishment under the Taliban's extreme laws.
Convicted adulterers were frequently stoned or shot when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until the US-led invasion in 2001.
Zabiullah, the Taliban spokesman, defended the practice and said it 'cannot be rejected by any Muslim'.
He also suggested without evidence that the stoning in question had been carried out by a commander on the side of the Afghan government.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.