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In chilling throwback to 1990s, Taliban hang body of ‘kidnapper’ in Herat’s main city square

Bodies of three other suspects reportedly taken to other parts of Herat for public hanging. Incident described by Taliban as ‘warning’ to criminals.

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New Delhi: The public hanging of alleged criminals’ corpses is back under the new Taliban regime, which seized power in Afghanistan last month with promises of a reformed administration. 

The body of an alleged kidnapper was hung from a crane in Herat city’s main square Saturday, news agency Associated Press reported. The bodies of three other suspects were taken to other parts of the city for public hanging, AP quoted a witness as saying.

The four alleged kidnappers were reportedly killed by police in a crossfire. 

The AP report quotes Ziaulhaq Jalali, a Taliban-appointed district police chief, as saying that Taliban members “rescued a father and son” allegedly abducted by the four men. “He said a Taliban fighter and a civilian were wounded by the kidnappers, and that the kidnappers were killed in crossfire,” the report adds.

An unnamed Taliban commander reportedly told the news agency that the aim of the public hanging is to “alert all criminals that they are not safe”.

Under the previous Taliban regime, convicted murderers were executed publicly by the victim’s family members, who also had the option of accepting blood money, the AP report noted. “For convicted thieves, the punishment was amputation of a hand. For those convicted of highway robbery, a hand and a foot were amputated,” the report added. Women accused of adultery were stoned to death publicly. 

Also Read: No one knows what the new Taliban is. But the ‘good Taliban’ house of cards is down

‘Lesson for abductors’

Mawlawi Shir Ahmad Muhajir, the Herat deputy governor, was quoted in another report as saying that the bodies were displayed as a “lesson” for abductors. 

“In order to be a lesson for other kidnappers not to kidnap or harass anyone, we hung them in the squares of the city and made this clear to everyone that anyone who steals or abducts or does any action against our people will be punished,” India Today quoted him as saying, citing news agency AFP as the source. 

Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, one of the founders of the Taliban and the chief enforcer of the insurgent group’s ruthless interpretation of Sharia law during their earlier rule (1996-2001), told AP in an interview earlier this week that executions and limb amputations will continue to be punishments for criminals. However, he said the cabinet is still studying whether they would be in public, as they were between 1996 and 2001. 

“No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran,” he said

Turabi added that women would be made a part of the adjudication process — a departure from the Taliban’s previous rule, when women had to stay indoors without studying or working — but the “foundation of Afghanistan’s laws will be the Quran”. 

(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)

Also Read: Afghanistan’s new Taliban govt has a clear Pakistan stamp and that’s bad news for India


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