Two executed by victim's kin in Kabul
Reuters, February 12, 1999

KABUL, Afghanistan (Reuters) -- Two men were shot dead for murder on Friday by relatives of the victims before a 30,000-strong crowd at the Afghan capital's battered sports stadium, witnesses said.

Repeated appeals by the crowd and some Taliban fighters to spare their lives were ignored by the relatives, a youth and an elderly man, who shot their victims with AK-47 assault rifles.

The punishments were carried out under the Taliban's strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law which allows the aggrieved to exact retribution.

A pickpocket and a thief had their right hands amputated in front of the crowd at a spectacle that has become a regular feature of Fridays, Kabul's weekly day off.

The four accused, all in their 20s, were dragged in masks from cars by Taliban fighters and forced to sit on the ground in front of the crowd, which included many women.

A young boy wielding an assault rifle shot Sayed Rahman for killing his brother. "Long live the Taliban," he said, clapping and rejoicing at his feat.

While he celebrated, an elderly man killed a young man called Farid who had killed his son. As the Taliban moved the bodies behind a car, two doctors wearing masks were busy removing the right hands of a thief and a pickpocket.

The head of Taliban's military tribunal, Sayed Abdur Rahman Agha, said all of the accused confessed to their crimes without force.

Three weeks ago a man accused of sodomy survived after a tank pushed a thick wall over him as his punishment.

He told reporters that his confession had been extracted by force and said that his survival was proof of his innocence.


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