Afghan Supreme Leader Orders Full Application of Sharia Law | taliban

Afghanistan’s supreme leader has ordered judges to fully implement aspects of Islamic law, including public executions, stonings, floggings and amputation of limbs for thieves, chief spokesman says of the Taliban.

Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted on Sunday that Haibatullah Akhundzada’s “mandatory” order came after the secret leader met with a group of judges.

Akhundzada, who has not been filmed or photographed in public since the Taliban returned to power in August last year, rules by decree from Kandahar, the movement’s birthplace and spiritual heart.

The Taliban promised a softer version of the hardline rule that characterized their first stint in power, from 1996 to 2001, but gradually cracked down on rights and freedoms.

“Carefully examine the records of thieves, kidnappers and seditionists,” Mujahid said quoting Akhundzada. These files in which all Sharia [Islamic law] conditions of hudud and qisas have been met, you are obligated to implement them. It is the Sharia rule and my commandment, which is obligatory.

Mujahid was unavailable on Monday to expand on his tweet.

Hudud refers to offenses for which, under Islamic law, certain types of punishment are prescribed, while qisas translates to “retaliation in kind” – in effect, an eye for an eye.

Hudud crimes include adultery – and falsely accusing someone – drinking alcohol, theft, kidnapping and highway robbery, apostasy and rebellion.

Qisas covers murder and willful injury, among other things, but also allows families of victims to accept compensation instead of punishment.

Islamic scholars argue that crimes leading to the hudud punishment require a very high degree of proof, including – in the case of adultery – a confession or the presence of four adult male Muslims.

Since the takeover last year, videos and photos of Taliban fighters inflicting summary floggings on people accused of various offenses have frequently appeared on social media.

On several occasions, the Taliban have also publicly displayed the bodies of kidnappers they believe were killed in gunfights.

Cases of adultery being whipped in rural areas after Friday prayers have also been reported, but independent verification has been difficult to obtain.

Rahima Popalzai, a legal and political analyst, said the edict could be an attempt by the Taliban to harden a reputation they say has softened since their return to power.

“If they really start implementing hudud and qisas, they will aim to create the fear that society has gradually lost,” she said, adding that the Taliban also wanted to restore their Islamic credentials. “As a theocratic configuration, the Taliban wants to strengthen its religious identity among Muslim countries.”

The hard-won rights of women in particular have evaporated in the past 15 months and they are increasingly being pushed out of public life.

Most female government workers have lost their jobs or are paid a pittance to stay home, while women are barred from traveling without a male relative and must cover themselves with a burqa or hijab when they are away from home.

Last week, the Taliban also banned women from entering parks, fairgrounds, gymnasiums and bathhouses.

During their first period of rule, the Taliban regularly meted out public punishment, including floggings and executions at Kabul’s Ghazi Stadium.

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