Taliban carry out first public execution since Afghan takeover

ISLAMABAD: Taliban authorities on Wednesday executed an Afghan convicted of murdering another man, the first public execution since former insurgents took control of Afghanistan last year, a spokesman said.
The announcement underlined the intentions of the new Afghan leadership to continue the tough policies implemented since they took over the country in August 2021 and to stick to their interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia.
The execution, carried out with an assault rifle by the victim’s father, took place in western Farah province in front of hundreds of spectators and many top Taliban officials, according to Zabihullah Mujahid, the main spokesman for the Taliban government. Some officials came from the capital Kabul.
The decision to carry out the punishment was “taken with great care”, Mujahid said, after the approval of three of the country’s highest courts and the Taliban’s supreme leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.
The executed man, identified as Tajmir from Herat province, was found guilty of killing another man five years ago and stealing his motorcycle and mobile phone. The victim was identified as Mustafa from neighboring Farah province. Many Afghan men only use one name.
Taliban security forces arrested Tajmir after the victim’s family accused him of the crime, a statement from Mujahid, the spokesman, said. The statement did not say when the arrest took place, but said Tajmir supposedly confessed to the murder. Mujahid added that Tajmir was shot three times by the victim’s father on Wednesday with an assault rifle.
During the country’s former Taliban rule in the late 1990s, the group carried out public executions, floggings and stonings of those convicted of crimes in Taliban courts.
After invading Afghanistan in 2021, in the final weeks of the withdrawal of US and NATO forces from the country after 20 years of war, the Taliban initially promised to respect the rights of women and minorities.
Instead, they restricted rights and freedoms, including banning the education of girls beyond grade six. They also carried out public lashes in different provinces, punishing several men and women accused of theft, adultery or running away.
Former insurgents have struggled to transition from war to government amid an economic downturn and denial of official recognition by the international community.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed concern over the public execution, reiterating the UN’s position that ‘the death penalty cannot be reconciled with full respect for the right to life’ , said UN deputy spokeswoman Stephanie Tremblay.
In comments late Wednesday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States condemns the public execution.
“We are watching closely how the Taliban treats the Afghan people,” he said. “As we have said publicly but also in our private engagements with the Taliban, their relationship with us, with the international community is entirely dependent on their own actions. Much depends on their actions on human rights, the rights of all Afghans, the rights of women, girls, minorities and other marginalized communities in Afghanistan.


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