Public executions return to Afghanistan

A convicted killer has been shot and killed by the father of his victim in western Afghanistan, with the full approval of Kabul. It is the first officially-confirmed public execution since US-led forces allowed the Taliban to assume control of the country last year.

According to the Guardian, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the executed man stabbed and killed another man in 2017. The execution was carried out by the father of the victim, who shot the man three times, Mujahid added.

The case was investigated by three courts and authorised by Hibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban supreme leader, who is based in southern Kandahar province.

More than a dozen senior Taliban officials attended the execution, including interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, and deputy prime minister Abdul Ghani Baradar, as well as the country’s chief justice, and foreign and education ministers.

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The first officially confirmed public execution comes as the climax to a country-wide feast of public lashings of men and women. It’s a sentimental trip down memory lane to the Taliban’s last attempt to rule the nation, in the 1990s.

Haibatullah Akhundzada met judges in and told them to carry out more punishments consistent with the more titillating aspects of sharia law. Other forms of entertainment are few and far between in the primitive country.

Public lashings and executions by stoning took place under the previous 1996-2001 rule of the Taliban. A spokesperson for the UN human rights office last month called on the Taliban to immediately halt public floggings.

Such punishments later became rare and were condemned by the foreign-backed Afghan governments that followed, although the death penalty remained legal in Afghanistan.

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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