Fourteen people were publicly lashed by the Taliban in a soccer stadium in another apparent sign that the group is returning to its old ways of rule.
Public lashings in stadiums were a hallmark of Taliban rule in the 1990s. Some had hoped that the new reign would see them moderate their harsh policies, but events like the public flogging on Wednesday underscore the Taliban’s long-standing reliance on brutal public displays. Twelve of the 14 people were lashed for crimes ranging from adultery to theft, Taliban officials said, according to the Associated Press. Each victim received between 21 and 39 lashes in full view of hundreds of spectators.
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“Fourteen people, including three women were lashed in the presence of scholars, authorities and people … for different sins including adultery, robbery and other forms of corruption in a football stadium in Logar (province),” a statement from the group’s Supreme Court said, adding the separate lashings of two other people elsewhere in the province, Reuters reported.
“Sharia law is the only solution for problems in Afghanistan and must be implemented,” the deputy governor of Logar, Enayatullah Shuja, said in a statement defending the action obtained by reporters.
The governor’s office sent out an invite for locals to watch the lashings beforehand over social media, inviting “honorable scholars, mujahideen, elders, tribal leaders and local people” to attend.
The first lashing of the Taliban’s new rule occurred earlier this month when 19 people received 39 lashes each for crimes ranging from adultery to theft and running away from home.
Despite the Taliban’s public declarations that they would become more progressive, the group has shown no willingness to lessen its brutality.