A day after publicly slaying a convicted murderer for the first time since they retook power last year, the Taliban publicly flogged 27 Afghans, including women, in front of a sizable crowd on Thursday.
Their chief spokesperson also responded angrily to criticism from other countries of the public punishments, branding it a disrespect for Islam.
The Taliban have progressively revived a hardline interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia, despite promising a gentler version of the harsh rule that characterized their first term in power. Zabihullah Mujahid, the chief spokesman, claimed that the criticism demonstrated that non-Muslims “don’t have regard for the beliefs, rules, and internal issues of the Muslims.”
The supreme court said in a statement that 27 “criminals” were publicly whipped on Thursday in Charikar, the seat of Parwan province, around 50 kilometers (32 miles) north of Kabul.
According to the report, nine women were among those sentenced to prison or other punishment for offenses such as “sodomy, fraud, fake witness, forgery, selling and buying tablet K (drugs), debauchery, fleeing from home, highway robbery, and unlawful relationships.”
It stated that all of the defendants “admitted their misdeeds before the court without using any coercion and were satisfied with the penalty.”
At a stadium in the city, the floggings were administered in front of more than 1,000 spectators, a witness told AFP.
“We want the law of God to be imposed on our soil,” the crowd was screaming, along with “Allahu akbar,” he claimed.
The witness further stated that they taunted those receiving floggings by shouting, “Will you do that again?”
A group of Taliban took turns using a cane that was “nearly a metre long and four fingers wide” to beat the prisoners as they writhed in agony from 20 to 39 strikes.
An Eye for an Eye Punishment
In Farah, the capital of the same-named province, on Wednesday, hundreds of people saw a convicted murderer be fatally shot by the father of his victim.
The Taliban said that it was a fair illustration of “qisas,” a principle of Sharia that permits an eye-for-an-eye penalty.
Akhundzada, who has not been seen on camera or in a public photograph since the Taliban retook control, reigns by order from Kandahar, the birthplace and spiritual center of the movement.
According to officials, the death penalty is only applied following a thorough investigation by three courts, and Akhundzada checks the final judgment in each case.
Foreign governments condemned the news of Wednesday’s public execution, with the United States labeling it “an affront to the dignity and human rights of all Afghans.”
Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, told reporters, “This implies to us that the Taliban seek a return to their peristalsis and abusive practices of the 1990s.”
Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the UN, voiced “grave concern” about the report.