Afghan Crowd Watches Girl-Lashing

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Thousands of people watched Friday (Feb.27,1998) while a teen-age girl, shrouded in a head-to-toe veil, received 100 lashes for walking with a man who was not her relative.

The Taliban religious army, which has imposed a strict version of Islamic law in the 85 percent of Afghanistan under its control, also publicly amputated the hands of two men convicted of stealing $500 from a shop.

Their hands were later displayed to the crowd in Kabul's sports arena. Over a loudspeaker a local Taliban leader warned: ``This is the fate of anyone who steals.''

At the other end of the arena, the girl, identified as Sohaila, stood for 60 of her lashes and sat for the rest, witnesses said.

No sound could be heard from beneath her burqua, a large piece of fabric that fits over the head with a mesh opening for the eyes.

It was unclear how old the girl is, or whether she required medical treatment after the lashing.

Taliban troops arrested Suhailullah as she walked down the street with a man, who ran off when they approached.

Roving bands of Taliban soldiers routinely beat women for not covering themselves completely and beat men who appear to have shaven -- both of which are crimes under Taliban law.

On Wednesday, three men convicted of sodomy were buried under rubble for 30 minutes. They survived, and the Taliban spared their lives.

Earlier this month, a large yellow crane dangling the body of a man hanged for treason drove slowly through Kabul. And a Taliban soldier convicted of theft was strapped to the front of a truck and driven through the capital, his face blackened with coal.

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