Activists honour mob attack victim

An Afghan woman who was beaten to death by a mob was buried in Kabul yesterday, her coffin carried aloft by women’s rights activists.

Hundreds gathered in Kabul for the funeral of 27-year-old Farkhunda, who, like many Afghans, is known by only one name.

She was killed late on Thursday by a mob of mostly men who beat her, set her body on fire, and threw it into the Kabul River, according to police, who are still investigating what prompted the mob assault.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the killing as a “heinous attack” and ordered an investigation.

Following allegations that police stood by and did nothing to stop the fatal attack, Ghani said it revealed “a fundamental issue” — the country’s police were too focused on the fight against the Taliban to concentrate on community policing.

His comments followed widespread condemnation of the killing. In Afghanistan, women are generally treated as inferior, despite constitutional guarantees of equality. Violence against women often goes unpunished.

Some officials and religious leaders sought to justify Farkhunda’s killing, alleging that she had burned a Koran.

However, at her graveside, the head of the interior ministry’s criminal investigation directorate said no evidence had been found to support those allegations.

“We have reviewed all the evidence and have been unable to find any single iota of evidence to support claims that she had burned a Koran,” said General Mohammad Zahir. “She is completely innocent.”


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