Afghan Taliban carry out first public execution since takeover

Published December 7, 2022
Afghan youths walk along a roadside in Kabul on Dec 7. — AFP
Afghan youths walk along a roadside in Kabul on Dec 7. — AFP

An Afghan man convicted of murder was publicly executed in Farah on Wednesday, the Taliban said — the first confirmation of such a sentence since the group returned to power.

Last month, Taliban supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada ordered judges to fully enforce aspects of Shariah law that include public executions, stonings and floggings, and the amputation of limbs from thieves.

They have carried out several public floggings since then, but Wednesday’s execution in Farah — the capital of the western province of the same name — is the first that the Taliban have acknowledged.

“The supreme court was instructed to implement this order of qisas in a public gathering of compatriots,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement, referring to the “eye for an eye” justice in Sharia.

The statement named the executed man as Tajmir, son of Ghulam Sarwar, and said he was a resident of Anjil district in Herat province.

It said that Tajmir had murdered a man and stolen his motorcycle and cell phone.

“Later, this person was recognised by the heirs of the deceased,” it said, adding he had admitted his guilt.

The spokesman later clarified in a tweet that the execution was carried out by the father of the victim, who shot the man three times.

Severe restrictions

The Taliban regularly carried out punishments in public during their first rule that ended in late 2001, including floggings and executions at the national stadium in Kabul, which local Afghans were encouraged to attend.

The group had promised a softer rule this time round but have introduced increasingly severe restrictions on the lives of Afghans.

Women in particular have been incrementally squeezed out of public life since the Taliban’s return.

Those in government roles have lost their jobs — or are being paid a pittance to stay at home — while women are also barred from travelling without a male relative, and must cover up with a burqa or hijab when out of the home.

Schools for teenage girls have also been shuttered across most of the country for over a year.

Mujahid said that the case for Wednesday’s execution had been thoroughly examined by a series of courts before the supreme leader gave the order.

“This matter was examined very precisely,” he said in the statement. “In the end, they gave an order to apply the Sharia law of retribution to the murderer,” he added.

Akhundzada, who has not been filmed or photographed in public since the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, rules by decree from Kandahar, the movement’s birthplace and spiritual heartland.

The statement included the names of dozens of court officials as well as other Taliban representatives as being present for the execution.

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