The Taliban has brought back public floggings for what the group says are “moral crimes,” with people lashed in football stadiums after being convicted by the judges of the Islamist group.
A group of 14 people, including three women, were lashed in a football stadium in front of a crowd on Wednesday in the eastern Logar province. A Taliban official told the BBC that they were being punished for sins “including adultery, robbery, and gay sex.”
The group's “Supreme Court” confirmed the conviction of “14 people, including three women, who were lashed, and attended by scholars, authorities, and people” in a statement on Twitter.
It’s believed to be the second round of lashings this month, after reports that 19 people were flogged in a similar way in the northern Takhar province.
The wave of public punishments comes a week after the Taliban announced that it will be “implementing Sharia Law” in full force across the country. Scenes such as the flogging resemble the group’s previous stint in power in the late 90s, which featured public executions, stoning, and other forms of corporal punishments.
This comes despite promises of a “softer version” of the Taliban rule from some senior figures after the takeover in 2021, who were hoping to show they were less bad than the previous iteration of the group to try and avoid being frozen out by the international community. However, the empty pledges haven’t convinced any of the countries that backed the previous government, and Afghanistan has been heavily sanctioned. Living conditions in the country, which relied heavily on international aid, have deteriorated rapidly, with many people unable to access food and basic medical aid.
The Islamist group’s version of the justice system is a mixed bag of Islamic laws and the centuries-old arbitration customs of Afghanistan. To justify banning girls from attending high school, the Islamists cited “cultural” values, as it disagrees with many Islamic scholars' take on the issue.
The Taliban leadership is split into two ideological camps – one is in favour of bringing back all the harsh measures used in the past, and the other wants to avoid being too radical to avoid further economic deterioration in the country.
Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban’s foreign minister, during a police academy graduation in Herat on Wednesday, said that “the world will eventually come to a point to recognise the Taliban’s government in Afghanistan.” So far, no countries have recognised the Taliban as the legitimate government since it took over in August 2021.
Far away from the central command of the Taliban government in Kabul, local leaders in some parts of Afghanistan have implemented their own version of laws. In the central province of Uruzgan, the regional Taliban has announced a ban on selling sim cards to women, citing a lack of appropriate “women only” mobile phone shops.