Taliban to Resume Executions, Amputations

Judges, including women, will decide cases instead of clerics, official says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 23, 2021 5:05 PM CDT
Taliban to Resume Executions, Amputations
Taliban leader Mullah Nooruddin Turabi poses Wednesday in Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

One of the founders of the Taliban and the chief enforcer of its harsh interpretation of Islamic law when they last ruled Afghanistan said the hard-line movement will once again carry out executions and amputations of hands. In an interview in Kabul, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi dismissed outrage over the Taliban's executions in the past, which sometimes took place in front of crowds at a stadium; future punishments might not take place in public, he said. Turabi also warned the world against interfering with Afghanistan's new rulers, the AP reports.

"Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments," Turabi said. "No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam, and we will make our laws on the Quran." Since the Taliban overran Kabul on Aug. 15 and seized control of the country, Afghans and the world have been watching to see whether they will re-create their harsh rule of the late 1990s. Turabi's comments pointed to how the group's leaders remain entrenched in their hard-line worldview, even if they are embracing technological changes, like video and mobile phones.

Turabi was justice minister and head of the so-called Ministry of Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice—effectively, the religious police—during the Taliban's previous rule. At that time, much of the world denounced the punishments, which took place in Kabul's sports stadium or on the grounds of the sprawling Eid Gah mosque, often attended by hundreds of Afghan men. Executions of convicted murderers were usually by a single shot to the head, carried out by the victim's family, who had the option of accepting "blood money" and allowing the culprit to live. For convicted thieves, the punishment was amputation of a hand. For those convicted of highway robbery, a hand and a foot were amputated.

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Trials and convictions were rarely public, and the judiciary was weighted in favor of Islamic clerics. Turabi said that this time, judges—including women—will adjudicate cases, but the foundation of Afghanistan's laws will be the Quran. Punishments will be the same. "Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security," he said, calling it a deterrent. He said the Cabinet was studying whether to do punishments in public. During the previous Taliban reign, he demanded men wear turbans in all government offices, and his minions routinely beat men whose beards had been trimmed. Sports were banned, and Turabi's enforcers forced men to the mosque for prayers five times daily.

(Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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