Taliban orders end to the public display of executed criminals

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Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Zabi Karimi)
Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Zabi Karimi)

Afghanistan’s Taliban-run interim government has banned the public display of executed criminals without a court order to do so, new edicts issued in Kabul reveal.

During the Taliban’s first spell in power between 1996 and 2001, public executions were typically followed by the “hanging out” of bodies or body parts in public, serving both as a final humiliation for the alleged criminal and as a stark warning to others.

The custom has recently been revived in some Afghan provinces, demonstrating to many people’s minds that the Taliban remains fundamentally unchanged despite its recent efforts to present a more moderate image to the outside world.

The new edict banning such gruesome public displays was issued on Thursday evening. It includes an order to instead publicize a criminal’s crime and their mandated punishment.

Also included in the government’s latest decree is an order to ensure the security of ‘important experts’ and ‘famous skilled figures,’ a reference to the massive brain drain Afghanistan has undergone since the Taliban returned to power and a suggestion that the authorities want to prevent any more well-educated Afghans from leaving the country.

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