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Afghanistan Arrests 18 Over Woman’s Killing

Afghan women's rights activists carry the coffin of 27-year-old Farkhunda, who was beaten to death by a mob, during her funeral, in Kabul, March 22, 2015.

Police in Afghanistan say they have arrested 18 people suspected of involvement in the mob killing and burning of a woman alleged to have desecrated the Muslim holy book.

Kabul's police chief, Abdul Rahman Rahimi, said the suspects have confessed to a role in the death of a 27-year-old woman identified as Farkhunda.

"Up to now, we have arrested 18 'motivators' of this incident and our arrests are still going on," he said.

Rahimi also said 13 police officers have been suspended over the killing.

Mobile phone footage of the killing that circulated on social media showed police did nothing to prevent last week's fatal attack.

Farkhunda was beaten to death by a mostly male mob in the Afghan capital last Thursday. Her body later was set on fire before it was thrown into the Kabul River.

Authorities say their initial investigation suggests the victim was wrongly accused of desecrating the Quran.

The killing has outraged Afghan human rights activists who have vowed to protest until the government brings to justice those responsible.

President Ashraf Ghani swiftly condemned Farkhunda's killing as a "heinous attack," and he ordered a wide-ranging probe.

The victim's relatives say a cleric falsely accused Farkhunda of burning a copy of the Quran after she criticized his reliance on amulets to save people from evil.

They also discounted reports that the woman was mentally ill, saying she was about to complete her religious studies to become an Islamic teacher.