AP News, April 3, 2024

The Taliban hold another public execution as thousands watch at a stadium in northern Afghanistan

Fifth Public Execution



The Taliban held a public execution on Monday of a man convicted of murder in northern Afghanistan as thousands watched at a sports stadium, the third such death sentence to be carried out in the past five days.

The execution took place in heavy snowfall in the city of Shibirghan, the capital of northern Jawzjan province, where the brother of the murdered man shot the convict five times with a rifle, according to a witness. Security around the stadium was tight, said the witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

It was also the fifth public execution since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 as U.S. and NATO troops were in the final weeks of their withdrawal from the country after two decades of war.

The Taliban, despite initial promises of a more moderate rule, began carrying out severe punishments in public — executions, floggings and stonings — shortly after coming to power. The punishments are similar to those during their previous rule of Afghanistan in the late 1990s.

Taliban government officials were not immediately available for comment.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: “The public nature of execution is extremely heinous, and we continue to stand against the use of the death penalty.”

The Taliban’s supreme court said in a statement that Monday’s death sentence was carried out following approval from three of the country’s highest courts and the Taliban supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada. The executed man, identified as Nazar Mohammad from Bilcheragh district in Faryab province, was convicted of killing Khal Mohammad, also from Faryab, it said. The killing took place in Jawzjan.

On Thursday in the southeastern Ghazni province, the Taliban executed two men convicted of stabbing their victims to death. Relatives of the victims fired guns at the two men, also at a sports stadium, as thousands of people watched.

Separate statements from the supreme court said a man and a woman convicted of adultery were flogged with 35 lashes each in northern Balkh province over the weekend. Two other people were given 30 lashes each in eastern Laghman province, also over the weekend, for allegedly committing immoral acts.

The United Nations has strongly criticized the Taliban for carrying out public executions, lashings and stonings since seizing power and has called on the country’s rulers to halt such practices.

First Published: February 26, 2024

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