ISLAMABAD: A UN report issued on Monday sharply condemned the Taliban for carrying out public executions, lashings, and stonings since capturing control in Afghanistan, and urged the country’s government to put an end to such practices.
According to a study by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, or UNAMA, 274 men, 58 women, and two boys have been publicly flogged in Afghanistan in the last six months.
“Corporal punishment is a violation of the Convention Against Torture and must cease,” said Fiona Frazer, the agency’s human rights chief. She also demanded an immediate halt to all executions.
In response, the Taliban foreign ministry stated that Afghanistan’s laws are defined by Islamic principles and standards, and that the vast majority of Afghans respect those rules.
“In the event of a conflict between international human rights law and Islamic law, the government is obliged to follow Islamic law,” the ministry stated in a statement.
Despite initial vows of a more mild rule than during their previous tenure in power in the 1990s, the Taliban began carrying out such punishments almost two years ago.
Simultaneously, in accordance with their understanding of Islamic law, they have increasingly increased restrictions on women, excluding them from public venues such as parks and gyms. The restrictions have sparked international outrage, further isolating the country at a time when its economy has crumbled – and aggravating a humanitarian crisis.
Documents from Monday’s report on corporal punishment Taliban tactics both before and after their return to power in August 2021, when they took Kabul as US and NATO forces retreated after two decades of conflict.
According to the report, the first public whipping under the Taliban control occurred in October 2021 in the northern Kapisa province. According to the report, a woman and a man accused of adultery were publicly lashed 100 times each in the presence of religious scholars and local Taliban officials in that case.
According to the story, Taliban authorities executed an Afghan convicted of murder in December 2022, the first public execution since they gained power.
The victim’s father carried out the execution with an assault weapon in front of hundreds of spectators and prominent Taliban commanders in western Farah province.
The decision to carry out the penalty was “made very carefully,” according to Zabihullah Mujahid, the senior government spokesman, after clearance from three of the country’s highest courts and the Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada.
According to the research, there has been a considerable increase in the quantity and frequency of judicial physical punishment since November, when Mujahid echoed comments made by the supreme commander concerning judges and their implementation of Islamic law in a tweet.
UNAMA has documented at least 43 instances of public lashings involving 274 men, 58 women, and two boys since that tweet. The majority of punishments were due to adultery convictions and “running away from home,” according to the report. Other alleged transgressions included theft, homosexuality, alcohol consumption, fraud, and drug trafficking.
Last week, the Taliban’s appointed deputy chief justice, Abdul Malik Haqqani, stated in a video message that the Taliban’s Supreme Court had delivered 175 so-called revenge judgements since taking control, including 79 floggings and 37 stonings.
Such rulings establish a supposed victim’s or a relative of a victim’s right to punish or forgive the criminal. The Taliban leadership, according to Haqqani, is dedicated to carrying out such sentences.
According to the report, after their initial defeat in the 2001 US invasion, the Taliban continued to carry out corporal punishment and killings in areas under their control while conducting an insurgency against the US-backed former Afghan government.
UNAMA reported at least 182 instances of the Taliban carrying out their own sentencing between 2010 and August 2021, resulting in 213 fatalities and 64 injuries.
Many Muslim-majority countries use Islamic law, but the Taliban version stands out.
According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the Taliban’s restriction on women working is an unforgivable infringement of Afghan human rights.
Afghanistan’s Taliban leadership advised the UN on April 5 that Afghan women working for the UN mission may no longer report for duty. Aid organizations have cautioned that the prohibition on women working will limit their ability to provide vital humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan.
Previously, the Taliban prohibited females from continuing their education past the sixth grade and women from participating in most public life and work. They forbade Afghan women from working at municipal and non-governmental organizations in December, but this did not apply to UN headquarters at the time.
From 1996 until 2001, the first Taliban rule used public physical punishment and executions against persons convicted of crimes, often in large settings such as sports stadiums and at major intersections.