Haibatullah Akhundzada, the commander of the Taliban, has instructed Afghan judges to sentence offenders to public amputations and stoning as punishment.
According to the group’s understanding of Islamic Sharia law, crimes including robbery, kidnapping, and sedition must be punished, according to his spokesman.
The Taliban were denounced for such penalties, which included public executions, when they were in control in the 1990s.
When they returned to power last year, they made a commitment to exercise more restraint.
However, since that time, the militant Islamist group has consistently repressed freedoms. Particularly harsh restrictions have been placed on women’s rights.
According to the supreme leader of the Taliban, if a crime is committed that violates Sharia law, courts must punish offenders in accordance with those laws.
The Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted late on Sunday that the “obligatory” command came after Mullah Akhundzada met a group of judges. “Carefully examine the files of thieves, kidnappers and seditionists,” Mujahid quoted Akhundzada as saying.
The exact crimes and punishments have not been defined by the Taliban, but one religious leader in Afghanistan told the BBC that under Sharia law, penalties could include amputations, public lashings and stoning. The order is the latest evidence the Taliban are taking a tougher line on rights and freedoms.
Last week they banned women from visiting all parks in Kabul, excluding them still further from public life. It has since emerged the ban extends to women in the capital visiting public baths and gyms, although the latter attracted relatively few women.
Entry to parks, baths and gyms was already segregated under Taliban rules on segregating people by gender.
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