The stoning and killing of a man and woman in the northern Afghanistan province of Kunduz has given rise to fears that the Taliban may soon retake control of the region. The couple had allegedly had an adulterous affair, and their killings were ordered by the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban. It is the first public stoning to be reported in the country since 2001, but other Taliban punishments are becoming increasingly frequent. The truth is Taliban fighters are "spreading like brush fire into remote and defenseless villages across Northern Afghanistan," reports Joshua Partlow in The Washington Post. Villagers in the region are "powerless and terrified, confused by the government's inability to prevail." This "series of public murders and mutilations" is evidence of the Taliban's "increasing confidence and determination to re-establish the older order," says Kim Sengupta in the Independent. It points to a "future full of foreboding." Watch a video report here: