19 people lashed in northeast province in Afghanistan, Supreme Court confirms

In a first official confirmation that the Taliban has resorted to strict implementation of Islamic law, the Supreme Court said that nineteen people in northeastern Afghanistan were lashed for adultery, theft and running away from home.

The Taliban, when they took over Afghanistan last year in August, had promised to be more moderate and show leniency toward women and minority rights.

However, a Supreme Court official, Abdul Rahim Rashid, said on Sunday that 10 men and nine women were lashed 39 times each in Taloqan city in northeastern Takhar province, on 11 November. .

The lashings for their “crimes” took place on Friday [11 November], at the city’s main mosque and in presence of elders, clerics and residents, the Associated Press reported.

On 17 November, a Taliban spokesperson had said that they will stick to their strict interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia. Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson said that the group’s supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhunzada, met with Taliban judges a few days ago and instructed them to implement Sharia law in their rulings.

On social media, several photos and videos have appeared on and off since August last year, showing Taliban punishing people. But the Supreme Court’s statement has confirmed the fears that the Taliban are serious about Sharia in Afghanistan.

Videos and photos of Taliban fighters punishing people for various offences have frequently appeared on social media in the last 15 months, although officials have never confirmed these incidents.

When they were in power during the 1990s, the group sparked worldwide condemnation for resorting to public executions and public lashings for those accused of adultery and theft. Even during this regime, they have implemented a ban on girls’ education beyond the sixth grade, despite repeated pleas from the women’s groups and world leaders to revoke it.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court official said in a statement that the 19 people who were lashed had their cases accessed by two courts before they were convicted.

It was unclear what happened to those 19 people after the lashings.