Afghanistan to bring back stoning for adultery
The government we are fighting for.
Twelve years after the Taliban was ousted from power Afghanistan is planning to reintroduce public stoning as punishment for adultery, according to a new draft penal code.
The move has shocked human rights campaigners and will dismay donors who have poured billions of pounds into the country for reconstruction.
It will be viewed as another backwards step at the end of a year that has seen women's rights undermined, with a slew of legislation and murders of prominent women.
Human Rights Watch called for international donors to withhold funding if the government went ahead with the plan.
Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said: "It is absolutely shocking that 12 years after the fall of the Taliban government, the (President Hamid) Karzai administration might bring back stoning as a punishment.
"President Karzai needs to demonstrate at least a basic commitment to human rights and reject this proposal out of hand."
The draft - devised by a working group led by the Justice Ministry and parts of which have been obtained by The Telegraph - states that unmarried adulterers should be subject to 100 lashes. If they are married, the punishment is stoning in a public place.
Stoning was used as punishment for adultery during Taliban rule, a brutal period which included bans on radio, television and music.
Since then, human rights - and women's rights in particular - have frequently been cited as a barometer of progress under the government on President Karzai.
His government signed up to international human rights conventions and the current penal code does not allow stoning as a punishment.
Critics have warned that progress is fragile and is being undermined in an attempt to placate conservative powerbrokers and maybe even pave the way for a deal with the Taliban as Nato forces leave the country in the next year.
The recent attempt to reach an agreement with the Karzai government about American troops remaining in Afghanistan after our combat forces leave next year should be dropped. Can you imagine American troops protecting a government with elements of the Taliban included?
If they want to live in the 7th century, let them. Just don't expect American troops to join them.