A prominent leader of the Taliban has said the group will reintroduce punishments such as amputations and executions for criminals, though perhaps not publicly.
Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, one of the founders of the Taliban, confirmed the return of executions. He is known for his extremist interpretation of Islamic laws and served as the justice minister in the previous Taliban government in the late 90s.
“Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security,” Mr Turabi said in a rare interview to the Associated Press, adding that it would serve as a deterrent. He added that the new Taliban government was studying if these punishments should be meted out in public, like in the past, and will soon “develop a policy”.
The Taliban’s previous rule in Afghanistan was marked by horrific incidents of “justice” such as public executions in a soccer field in Kabul. The hardline group stoned or shot down or amputated the limbs of men and women accused of crimes, even if they were petty thefts and robberies.
These acts were criticised by the international community at that time. Referring to this, Mr Turabi said: “Everyone criticised us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments. 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 seized control of Kabul on 15 August, fears have mounted that similar barbaric acts will be carried out again, despite the extremist group’s claims that it is more liberal this time. Reports from the country have emerged that men accused of undisclosed crimes have already been publicly shamed and paraded.
Yet meanwhile, Taliban leaders have claimed that there will be gender equality and justice in its new rule.
Mr Turabi also repeated these claims in his interview to the female journalist and said: “We are changed from the past.”
The last Taliban regime had banned all forms of entertainment, including films and sports. But television, mobile phones, photos and video will be allowed now “because this is the necessity of the people, and we are serious about it”, he said.
He added that judges, including women, will hear cases this time, but reiterated that the laws will be based upon sharia (Islamic) laws.
The United Nations and other international bodies have expressed concern about the human rights situation in Afghanistan. Several countries have also threatened to isolate the nation if it repeats past activities. However, the new regime has repeatedly claimed that it will uphold human rights values.
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