Meanwhile, in Afghanistan:
An armed mob that included relatives of a young woman who had eloped with her lover stormed a police station holding the couple in eastern Afghanistan over the weekend, then dragged the lovers off and killed them, officials and witnesses said.
The mob wounded three police officers, one of them seriously, the officials and witnesses said Sunday and Monday in providing accounts of the couple’s violent deaths, often called honor killings.
The woman, Fatiha, 18, was described as having been married against her will and eloping instead with a young man, Hedayatullah, believed to be in his early 20s, from a neighboring village in Wama District of Nuristan Province. But on Saturday the police caught and arrested the couple on suspicion of adultery.
Within hours an armed mob formed at the police station, led by Fatiha’s husband and his family, but also including her brothers and cousins, the officials and witnesses said.
The authorities said there were only 30 police officers at the station facing a mob of 250 to 300 heavily armed men. “If police had fired bullets at the people, a massacre could have happened,” said Hafiz Abdul Qayoom, the governor of Nuristan, claiming the police had no option but to surrender the couple to the mob, especially after three officers had suffered gunshot wounds from the angry crowd.
Enayatullah, the district governor in Wama, who like many Afghans uses only one name, said the couple were apparently killed soon after they had been taken out of the police station.
“We asked for additional police, but the road to the district was closed due to snow,” he said. “If the police had resisted more, a disaster would have taken place.”
Salam Khan, 22, a witness from Fatiha’s village, Sar-i-Pul, said he saw what had happened to the couple after the police surrendered them. “Some of Fatiha’s relatives, her cousins, were beating her with their fists and saying, ‘Why did you do this?’ Then her older brother got angry and shot her with a hunting rifle and her younger brother shot her with an AK-47. I don’t know how many bullets they fired,” Mr. Khan said, speaking by telephone from the remote village.
The man described by officials and witnesses as the woman’s husband, who was not identified, shot and killed Hedayatullah, with whom she had eloped, according to Mr. Khan.