Taliban holds public execution as thousands watch in stadium…

Nazar Mohammad was executed in public for the killing of Khal Mohammad. It was the fifth public execution since the Taliban seized power of Afghanistan in August 2021

The Taliban have recently carried out five public executions ( Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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 an eyewitness. Security around the stadium was tight, said the witness, speaking 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 the US and NATO troops were in the final weeks of their withdrawal from the country after two decades of war. Despite initial promises of a more moderate rule, the Taliban began carrying out severe punishments in public – executions, floggings, and stonings – shortly after coming to power.

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Taliban security officials in Kabul, Afghanistan
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Image:

SAMIULLAH POPAL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The punishments are similar to those under their previous rule of Afghanistan in the late 1990s. Monday’s death sentence was reportedly carried out following approval by three of the country’s highest courts and the Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.

The executed man, identified as Nazar Mohammad from the district of Bilcheragh in Faryab province, had killed Khal Mohammad, also from Faryab. 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 Taliban’s 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 lashed in eastern Laghman province, also over the weekend. They were given 30 lashes for allegedly committing immoral acts.

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The United Nations has strongly criticized the Taliban for carrying out public executions, lashings, and stonings since seizing power, and called on the country’s rulers to halt such practices. The UN said it was strongly opposed to the death penalty, saying it was inconsistent with the fundamental right to life.

Its mission in Afghanistan urged Taliban authorities to establish an immediate moratorium on the death penalty as a step toward its abolition. The Taliban emerged following a civil war that sparked after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989.

In their first rule of 1996 to 2001, public executions were common. One of the most infamous images from that period depicted a woman who was killed in a Kabul woman after being accused of killing her husband.

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