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Taliban announce harsher punishments

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Ground Report | New Delhi: Taliban announce harsher punishments; Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, one of the founders of the Taliban in Afghanistan and a key leader in enforcing a strict interpretation of Islamic law in the country during his previous government, says his movement in the country is once again akin to executing criminals and cutting off their hands. Punishments will begin, but this time the sentences may not be made public.

In an interview with the Associated Press (AP), Mullah Turabi also rejected criticism from some quarters about the Taliban’s past executions of criminals. These punishments were sometimes given in front of a crowd in a stadium.

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Taliban announce harsher punishments

  •  He warned the world not to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. “Everyone criticized the punishments in the stadium, but we never said anything about their laws and the punishments they give us,” said Mullah Turabi.
  • “No one needs to tell us how our laws should be. We will follow Islam and formulate our laws in the light of the Qur’an’s instructions,” he added.
  •  Since the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15 and took over the country, the Afghan people and the world have been watching to see if they will return to their strict rule in the late 1990s. 
  • Mullah Turabi’s views suggest that the Taliban leaders still think radically, even though they are taking advantage of new technological advances such as video and mobile phones.
  • At the time, the world condemned the punishments meted out by the Taliban government in the presence of hundreds of civilians, often on the grounds of Kabul’s Sports Stadium or the vast Eid Gah Mosque.
  • At the time, the perpetrator was shot in the head to carry out the death penalty. This was usually done by a member of the affected family. 
  • However, there was a possibility of accepting ‘diyat’ money in return for the murder, in which the victim’s family could forgive the culprit in return for the money. To punish thieves, one arm or one leg was usually amputated.
  • Cases were seldom conducted in public, and courts usually ruled on the basis of arguments given by scholars whose knowledge was largely limited to religious instruction.
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The sentences are the same but the procedure will be different

  • Mullah Nooruddin Turabi said that this time judges, including women, would decide cases instead of clerics, but the basis of Afghan law would be the Qur’an. He said the old sentences would be reinstated.
  • He said that amputation of hands is very important for security as it has a different effect. He added that the cabinet was considering whether to impose public punishments and a policy would be formulated in this regard.
  • Mullah Turabi, who has a disheveled beard and a white turban, has a prosthetic foot. He lost a leg and an eye in the war against Soviet troops in the 1980s.
  • Under the new Taliban government, he has been made in charge of prisons. He is one of the few Taliban leaders to be included in the cabinet on the UN sanctions list.

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‘We are different from the past’

During the previous Taliban regime, he advocated for strict enforcement of the law and was one of the leaders in enforcing it. 

  • His men used to take out and destroy the music system in the cars. All men were forced to grow beards and Muslim men were forced to go to the mosque for five daily prayers.
  • Mullah Turabi said the Taliban had now allowed television, mobile phones, pictures and video “because it is the need of the people and we are serious about it.” “Now we know how to reach millions of people instead of just hundreds.”
  • He added that if the sentences are now public, people can make a video of it and take pictures and publish it, which could have a different effect.
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Mullah Turabi defended the former Taliban government’s move, saying it had created stability. “We have been able to establish complete security in every part of the country,” he said.

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