• Thursday, Aug 11, 2022
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Taliban plan return of amputations and executions as punishment

  • Published at 12:25 pm September 24th, 2021
Taliban Afghanistan
File photo: Taliban soldiers stand in front of a sign at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 9, 2021 Reuters

It’s new head of prisons and one of the group’s founders Nooruddin Turabi says in an interview

The Taliban are likely to resume executions and amputations of hands as punishment in Afghanistan once again though not in public, says a veteran Taliban minister.

“We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Qur’an,” Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, one of the group's founders, said in an interview, reports The Guardian.

Turabi, the chief enforcer of Taliban’s harsh interpretation of Islamic law, dismissed the outrage over the public executions when the militant forces last ruled the country.

Strictly warning anyone to refrain from interfering with the new regime, he said: “Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments.”

According to Turabi, the now prisons minister in Afghanistan, the cutting off of hands “is very necessary for security,” says the Guardian report.

He added that the existing cabinet was trying to develop a policy on whether the punishments would be publicly executed like before.

Turabi said that while the Qur'an will remain the foundation for Afghanistan’s laws, judges – including women – would adjudicate cases but the same punishments would be revived.

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Despite hinting that executions and amputations will resume under the regime, the hardliner claimed that the Taliban has changed from the past.

Turabi says television, mobile phones, photos, and videos will be allowed because they have become a “necessity.”

He added that the Taliban saw the media as a way to spread their message and they can reach more people now.

File photo of Afghanistan’s Taliban leader Mullah Nooruddin Turabi Collected

The Taliban have already revived a punishment they commonly used in the past – public shaming of men accused of small-time theft.

In the past week, men accused of petty theft were publicly shamed, at least on two occasions, by being packed into the back of a pickup truck with hands tied and paraded around.

The Guardian reports another occasion when their faces were painted to identify them as thieves while in another incident, stale bread was hung from their necks or stuffed in their mouths.

Despite their fear of the new rulers, Kabul residents acknowledged grudgingly that the capital has already become safer in just the past month.

“It’s not a good thing to see these people being shamed in public, but it stops the criminals because when people see it, they think ‘I don’t want that to be me,”’ Amaan, a store owner in the centre of Kabul, told The Guardian.

FILE PHOTO: Taliban forces patrolling in front of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 2, 2021 Reuters

The world has been on tenterhooks, watching with bated breath to see whether the Taliban who overtook Kabul on August 15, would resume their harsh rules of the 1990s. 

Turabi was justice minister and head of the so-called ministry of propagation of virtue and prevention of vice, during the last Taliban rule.

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At that time punishments were executed in Kabul’s sports stadium or on the Eid Gah mosque grounds.

The executions of the convicted murderers were carried out mostly by a single shot to the head, while the punishment for convicted thieves was amputation of a hand. Punishment for those convicted of highway robbery was amputation of a hand and a foot.

Under the previous Taliban rule, trials and convictions were rarely public and the judiciary was weighted in favor of Islamic clerics, whose knowledge of the law was limited to religious injunctions.

Turabi’s recent comments about the revival of the amputations hints that the group’s leaders are likely still entrenched in a deeply conservative, hardline worldview, even if they are embracing technological changes, such as video and mobile phones.