A manhunt was under way today for Taliban militants who publicly executed a woman accused of adultery, Afghan authorities said, as outrage mounted after a video of the cold-blooded killing surfaced.
The commander of NATO's 130,000 troops in Afghanistan, General John Allen, offered to help local security forces track and capture the men involved in what he called "an atrocity of unspeakable cruelty".
The brutal shooting of the lone woman before a cheering mob of men is shown in graphic detail in a video of the event in a village in Parwan province some 100 kilometres north of the capital Kabul.
"We have sent a police force to the area," Parwan provincial governor Basir Salangi said, adding that the government had no permanent presence in the valley.
"They are searching for the Taliban who are responsible, but the Taliban, including the killer, have fled to the mountains." Roshna Khalid, Salangi's spokeswoman said.
The 22-year-old woman, named as Najiba, was married to a member of the hardline Islamist Taliban and was accused of adultery with a Taliban commander.
"Within one hour they decided that she was guilty and sentenced her to death. They shot her in front of villagers in her village, Qol," she said.